Everyone take a big deep breath. You smell that? That nice fresh air? You know what that smell is? Well, it is not exactly the fresh baked pie that is cooling in Aunt Bea’s window; it is the air of a new fresh format that is begging to be explored.
Wait; hasn’t IBC already been broken into? Well, I guess so. It seems that everyone has the same ideas, the same hackneyed expressions on their face as another Spectral Lynx is played, or as a Temporal Spring clears the way for yet another bear to come in and bash your face to a pulp. The same goes on in the internet community as I type: Exclude this, Vindicate that, Desolation Angel hit me with a whiffle ball bat!
While attending the Origins gaming convention earlier this month, I played in one Invasion Block constructed Pro Tour Qualifier. I went one-two drop. It seemed to me that Domain would have been a very good deck to play, but I was wrong. Oh, well; back to the hours of playtesting for me. I emerged from the next IBC tournament in Louisville with a 0-2 record, playing Kowal.dec. I finally had a winning record at a Danville tournament with a Red White Blue deck, but I missed the top four cutoff. I went back to building new decks, playtesting them, and have yet to find one that I like.
It seems like every deck in this format wants to have islands in it. Let’s face it: Blue is a very powerful color in the three sets. Fact or Fiction, Exclude, Repulse, and many others have reared back their heads and have impacted the Pro Tour Qualifiers so far. Blue/Green is good, so is Blue/Black/White, and Green/Black/Blue, the only thing that keeps this format from having a true mono-blue Draw-Go Deck is the lack of a reliable two casting-cost counterspell. Had Research and Development decided to put Counterspell in the block, Turbo Chevy decks would be all the rage right now.
Fortunately, they did not. During the designing process, it was decided that gold cards and multicolored decks would be the bomb diggety, so many old favorites were not reprinted. No Disenchant, Stone Rain, or Dark Banishing in this set. Sure many of those cards did receive rehashes in the form of Orim’s Thunder, Implode and Agonizing Demise, but blue lacks the fear effect of having two blue open in this format. With such solid gold bombs as Confound, why should opposing players fear the blue mage’s second turn?
Eventually, I am going to get to a deck that I have been working on. Sigh, it is coming, I promise.
Like millions of other players across the land, I was quite interested in the Phyrexian Arena. Be it the new Necropotence, or new Howling Mine or Jayemdae Tome, it is still good. My first round opponent from the first PTQ I played in was running a good Black/Red/White Arena deck. He then went on to smash the face of fellow StarCity writer, John F. Rizzo. He ended the day well, if I recall, and this cool little deck instantly intrigued me.
After my abysmal showings, I decided that I could try a deck like this, but in place of white, I would play blue. I know introduce the world to: GOSIS.
Hmm. What a strange name for my deck.
I went to playtest this; I was excited by my baby, if you will. I got my face knocked in by Green base decks. Ever wonder why GoMar plays Spectral Lynx? GoSis wants to play Protection from Green critters as well! Being pounded on by several aggressive green guys made me realize that Pyre Zombie, while popular in Cantonese cuisine, is too expensive for my taste. The zombies got cut in favor of the cheaper Vodalian Zombie. It is a 2/2 for two, and he has protection from green. The number of my creature base rose because of this. I have to have four zombie merfolk in my deck.
During playtesting, I was always wanting to counter stuff on turn two. I am glad that at least Prohibit is a playable two-drop counter. Urza’s Rage seemed to fit the deck, as did Undermine. I am however, still debating the Crosis’s Charm. I strongly believe that Recoil could be just as effective in this deck, but that would be the only discard slot in the deck, if I wanted to do discard, I would have to add Addle and Bog Down. (However, in hindsight, this may be a pretty good idea.) There are times when I absolutely have to draw a Void; if I do, I win the game. If not, I lose it pretty quickly afterwards. Therefore, I added a third Void, and cut the number of Arenas down to three as well. Finally, in the last part of playtesting, I finally added a Yawgmoth’s Agenda. Undermine works pretty well with this card, allowing you to potentially cast it eight times. As if you needed another reason to use it, Urza’s Rages, other dead critters, and useful spells will be in the graveyard. Adding this card also gave me another reason to drop the Pyre Zombies. You do not see Probe-Go playing with Agenda, right? Why remove your recursive creature from the game?
Finally, the last session of my playtesting involved the land mix. Having resigned myself into playing with twenty-three lands due to the inclusion of the fourth zombie, I found the consistency of the Catacomb incredibly annoying. Yes, it is quite nice to have all three colors of mana available to you, but given the price of speed it takes, it is almost uncalled for. It is comparable to Temporal Springing your own side of the board. I dropped both Catacombs in favor of the aforementioned zombie and a single swamp.
Now the part that everyone is looking forward to: The SIDEBOARD!!!!!!!!
I honestly feel that Mask of Intolerance is wasted slot in the sideboard. The Breath of Darigaaz is mainly for the fast Red/Green decks and can be sided in against Blue/Green and Black/Red, with a little bit of use in the Black/White Arena Matchup. Scorching Lava, aside from being hard to spell, is going to get rid of those stupid Protection from Black creatures, get rid of regenerators… And Pyre Zombie too! Removed – BAM WHAMMO ZIPPIE!!!!!! Terminate is cheap removal, and could merit consideration into the main deck. Dodecapod… Sigh, I guess I could not think of anything better. Has there ever been a more overrated card ever?
I know that during my slow time, I have fallen behind in the Magic world. Someone is screaming as he or she reads this:”THIS DECK IS FRIGGIN’ OLD!!!!” I have been very busy, and very happy to announce that I am engaged to the coolest female in all the world. Yes, she indeed plays Magic. Yes, she is indeed better than I am.
I am ready to bring forth more articles. I hope you are ready to read them!
Always watch out for the Pikeys.