Gaea’s Skyfolk, UG
Creature – Elf/Merfolk
Gaea’s Skyfolk has got to be my favorite card out of the new set. I looked at it, and my jaw dropped. After a quick draft at the Pre-release where I drafted five (five!) of those beauties, I knew I’d have to find a good deck with her.
Along comes Block format, the little brother of Standard who allows for new and innovative deck archetypes not found in other formats.
I knew Invasion block held some great little jewels for Blue and Green, and I was looking for a fast, simple beatdown deck with some cheap and efficient counters. My memory was a little rusty, so Apprentice assisted with the first few drafts of my U/G deck. One spell I absolutely wanted in the deck was four Disrupts. Disrupt is my pet card for the block, and for a good reason! In UBC, all the fast Power drops (aside from the godly efficient green creatures) were enchantments and artifacts. Annul was golden back then, and Disrupt serves a similar purpose in this block, Fighting off early Vindicates, Terminates, Gerrard’s Verdicts (my vote for the most broken card in IBC), and also catches an opponent off-guard in the late game when they tap out completely for a Death Grasp. Not to mention Disrupt wins counter wars and is a cantrip all in one. Booya!
One of the original creatures in my deck that didn’t make the final cut was Quirion Dryad, who, solid by herself, wasn’t reliable enough in my deck for consistent beatings. Shrug…
Tempo Tantrum, by Bo King (He didn’t steal this from [author name="Bennie Smith"]Bennie Smith[/author], folks, although creepily enough the two updated articles arrived within seconds of each other – The Ferrett)
4 Llanowar Elite (Elf)
4 Quirion Sentinel (Elf)
4 Nomadic Elf (Elf)
4 Gaea’s Skyfolk (Elf)
3 Elvish Champion (mize!)
4 Blurred Mongoose
2 Kavu Titan
3 Mystic Snake
4 Yavimaya Coast
I’d like to stress the fact that this deck is a metagame deck, and will do its job only against a few specific archetypes, mainly control. Inspired by Sean McKeown amazing Fish deck during UBC, I’ve always been a fan of focused metagame decks that beat existing archetypes. And using fast beats, cantrip counterspells, and some fast creatures that double as late-game beef, this deck is a focused metagame deck that will beat Go-mar. It’ll beat B/W/G. It’ll absolutely crush U/W, and goes 50/50 against R/U decks. I’ll give you specific results below.
And most importantly, this deck packs eleven cantrips. Count ’em! That’s a lot of card drawing packed into focused counterspells. This deck is amazingly fast! The Quirion Sentinels add the extra push you need to overwhelm your opponent. Now to go through a card-by-card analysis; trust me, it won’t take long, bub.
Llanowar Elite: A 1/1 Elf for G is some good in my book. Backed by the Champion and the chance of kickin’ it up late game, it’s a must-have.
Quirion Sentinel: The GAS TANK of this deck. Absolute beatings. Turn one Elite. Turn two either #1) Sentinel, add a green, Elite, or #2) Wait ’till turn three and drop TWO two-drops. Another must-have.
Nomadic Elf: Another warm body to be given +1/+1 by the Champion. Honestly, this guy was the last addition, he made the cut due to his”Elf” status, and can double as a mana smoother in case you don’t draw an Island.
Gaea’s Skyfolk: While I thought the”Merfolk” status was good, It shines because it’s an Elf. A 2/2 flying Elf, that is. A 2/2 flying Elf that screams
“Kill me! I’m that good!” Tings.
Elvish Champion: Thanks to James Davis for this idea! In an earlier version of the deck, I featured twelve elves. He suggested this beauty, so I took his advice and put in the much needed one-drop elves. This guy is a Glorious Anthem that will just rush past Spiritmongers by giving all his little buddies Forestwalk.
Blurred Mongoose: This is your trump card versus Go-mar. A normal scenario would involve you dropping early pressure, with your opponent setting up his mana. Drop ALL the counterable creatures you can until you think he can counter something. He’ll leave his mana open to hit the next thing you drop. Watch him roll his eyes when you windmill slam this Ace onto the table! Good times for all… Except your opponent, of course. =P
Kavu Titan: Originally starting four maindeck, I decided I wanted early elves instead. This guy is gold ANY time. You’ll always be able to kick him up, unlike the Elite (who costs nine; iiick). Early game or late game beats, he’ll save your hide countless times!
Disrupt: As explained above, if you lose the coinflip, you don’t have to sweat about a second-turn Verdict or Addle. Just smile and draw your card instead of discarding.
Confound: The most controversial card in the deck… Among my friends, that is. I have a bunch of creatures. They are my only way to win. So of COURSE my opponent will throw all their spells at em. Vindicate, Terminate, Death Grasp, Recoil… Even Temporal Spring won’t stop your creatures when you have this Ace in your hand. Too bad he doesn’t counter Flametongue Kavus – bleh…
Mystic Snake: I’m only running three due to their casting cost, I just recently found out that you can play him ANY time, without having to counter a spell! Hey, don’t roll your eyes… I didn’t know that! Anyway, he combines well with Repulse and will save your butt against late-game bombs like Mongers, Death Grasps, Dragons, or just about anything your opponent could cast.
Repulse: No explanation needed. Cantrip Bounce is some good.
This deck has only three major sources of removal: Urza’s Rage, Flametongue Kavu, and *gulp* Spectral Lynx. Pro green is some bad, I hear. Other than that you are fine!
Now, some of you may be thinking”What a scrub! Pernicious Deed owns this deck like nothing else…” And you’re right. You just have to play around it FIRST game… And then sideboard in MY EXCLUSIVE TECH! I hereby claim credit for my mad Tech. I don’t care if it’s good or bad, but I discovered its beatings.
Counter target activated Ability.
Draw a card.
(Oh, for God’s sake – I hereby retract anything nasty I ever said about this damn card – The Ferrett)
Get your early beatings, drop as many creatures as you’d like. Watch your opponent smile as he drops a Disk, probably tapping out. Untap. Swing for four or five or whatever you can. Watch him untap and drop NOTHING as he prepares to use the disk on your turn for advantage. Untap. Swing. He’ll pay two and sac. Pause for a dramatic effect! I mean it! It rules if you pause before tech!
Trust me – heh….
Then unleash the fury! Not only will he have wasted TWO turns of mana, He’ll have sacrificed his only non-targeting answer to your deck, and it didn’t even resolve! PLUS, you get to draw a card! Is that tech or what? Mine! All mine!
And, of course, the sideboard:
4 Planar Overlay
4 Rushing River
Most of that is self explanatory, but I’ll just say the RR’s are against opposing creature decks.
First up, let me list the bad matchups:
R/G Fires: Do you like seafood? I like seafood. There’s nothing like fried fish, and that’s exactly how your 2/2 merfolk wind up, facing a plethora of burn, including the all-mighty Urza’s Rage. Roll over and die to this matchup. Your best bet is to RUSH them as fast as possible, and after sideboarding use those Rushing Rivers! Confound becomes much better in this matchup, but will never stop a Rage. When in a sticky situation, you can actually cast Confound against an Urza’s Rage to draw a card. Not a bad idea, especially if you mize a Repulse. After some extensive testing, and some tweaking of my sideboard, I found that Jungle Barrier does wonders in this matchup, and holds the early game long enough for you to set up with forestwalkers and flyers. If you want to devote three slots for Jungle Barriers, You could take out some of the Rushing Rivers or Binds.
R/B/W Beatings: More popular where I live (New Mexico. Don’t laugh), this deck has yet to see its fifteen minutes of fame. It’s a construction that a friend and I came up with (inspired by some casual players, actually) that consist of all the best creatures and removal of those colors. Goblin Legionnaires, Putrid Warriors, Shivan Zombies, Squee’s Embrace, Urza’s Rage, Vindicate, you get the picture. This is by far your worst matchup. I can offer no solid advice short of prayer, because I have lost 99% of the time to this deck in testing. Sorry – this is the deck to avoid.
Whew! Now that’s over, onto the mediocre matchups:
B/U/G Deed/Monger: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Actually no, wait – I’m lying. Spectral Lynx is the sole reason for Repulses in the deck, and even then they’re trouble. Other than the feisty feline, you should be fine. Don’t overextend with your creatures in the first game unless you have to, because a well-timed Deed can be devastating. After sideboarding you should be able to safely drop as many creatures as possible due to the ultra-efficient Bind. Forestwalk or fly past any other opposing creatures, and that should seal the deal.
Domain: This is the coin toss matchup for you. The first game gives a 50/50 chance for success. It all depends on who goes first, and if you reach your fourth land to counter the Collective Restraint. After sideboarding, it’s all an easy downhill for you, seeing as how seven slots are devoted to beating Domain. Planar Overlay is simply amazing tempo, and if you cast it early enough, you should be able to squeeze it through with Disrupt. If anything does happen to resolve, just untap and cast Tranquility. Watch for the Routs and you’ll be fine.
And now for your best matchups:
“Classic” Go-Mar: There’s no holding back. Drop anything and everything. Disrupts force everything through and hold back those Routs. Confounds prevent sudden death from Spite/Malice or Dromar’s Charm. I specify the”Classic” matchup, because newer versions I’ve seen sport Spectral Lynx, which is this deck’s nemesis. In that case, do your best to bounce or fly over it and you should be fine.
“The Solution”: Are you kidding me? By far your easiest matchup. That is, of course, unless they run maindeck Lynxes, in which case you’ll have to do the usual bounce, and they are in trouble. Side in some of the Rushing Rivers to bounce Lynxes or Moats (or both with kicker! Whee!).
All in all, this is a focused metagame deck against control, but holds its own against some of the other more popular archetypes. I’d like to mention that I’ve been testing this deck for over a month, before the Origins tournament, and have had the Bind tech for at least three weeks. Any comments or questions are welcome, so please e-mail me at [email protected] I accept comments, questions, flames, or even the occasional corndog! Thanks for reading!
Bo”Da Magical Masta of Rhythm and Funk” King
Team”Squall, Green Squall!”