fbpx

Running the Vintage Gauntlet: G through M (Part II)

In this half, Steve covers Landstill and U/G Madness.

Landstill

Sample Decklist:

by Atle Hovdenakk

4th place, 2003-02-28 Copenhagen

4 Nevinyrral’s Disk

1 Ancestral Recall

2 Chain of Vapor

4 Force of Will

4 Mana Drain

3 Misdirection

4 Standstill

3 Stifle

1 Time Walk

1 Regrowth

4 Fire / Ice

2 Lightning Bolt

1 Black Lotus

1 Lotus Petal

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

1 Library of Alexandria

4 Faerie Conclave

4 Mishra’s Factory

2 Flooded Strand

4 Tropical Island

4 Volcanic Island

1 Island


Sideboard

1 Chain of Vapor

2 Darksteel Colossus

2 Gaea’s Blessing

1 Morphling

4 Oath of Druids

1 Ravenous Baloth

4 Red Elemental Blast


People complain: whatever happened to URphid? Well this is it. This is the probably the last remaining nap-control deck in the format (yes, we’ve coined a new archetype), arguably besides Keeper – and even that deck has chosen the more tempo-oriented Angel strategy over pure domination.


This deck seeks dominance over the game before it finishes you off. Instead of relying on the precariously fickle snake, Ophidian, or on a one-burst AK engine, this deck uses Standstill synergy and manlands to win games. It uses burn and counterspells to stop opposing threats, and Disks to create excellent card advantage and clear threats off the board. This deck takes the synergies of Standstill, Disk, and Manlands with Instants to make an effective game strategy. Disk answers every threat and therefore is highly threatening. The deck also doesn’t have to worry too much about board position when considering when to play Standstill. Most decks have the problem of not wanting play Standstill until they have some sort of board advantage because of the problem that the opponent might try to play around it – lands that attack solve that dilemma.


It is not clear to me what this player of Landstill used Oath for, perhaps just surprise, nonetheless, this deck has proven potent in the past. The remaining question will be whether Landstill can remain competitive in a sea of aggro-control and hyper broken decks.


Difficulty of Play

This deck, like most of the control decks, requires experience and expertise to pilot successfully, because the threats are so powerful in Type One that if you are unable to stop one, it could be the death of you.


Strengths

The strength of this deck are the excellent card pool the deck utilizes, and the tremendous ability to beat other control decks through the very high use of so many permission spells. This is made aided by the virtual card advantage created by having lands be the win condition, and by the use of Nev’s Disk.


Weaknesses

This deck’s weaknesses overlap with many of the other control decks we’ve looked at. The card pool is highly permissible, and arguably underpowered. Standstill is a conditional card – even in this deck – and in Type One that can be problematic given the speed of the format. Many of the decks that are supposedly favorable could become losses because of the fact that an opposing deck is simply more powerful, or got only the little bit of luck needed to pull out a tight matchup.


My essential problem with the deck is that it simply doesn’t have the tools to effectively fight very fast combo because many of its answers are too narrow (Fire/Ice, Lightning Bolt, etc – all make Draw7 laugh); and additionally, while it has non-trivial amounts of draw, it simply cannot deal effectively with some threats and its answer is the blunt, but powerful Disk. The problem is matchup specific. Against Tog, Tog has plenty of time and ways to deal with disk. Eot Wish for Rack and Ruin is a pretty solid play, and Artifact Mutation is probably even better. Tog can secure its mana base early on by fetching out Islands to ensure it can win the counterwar. It just needs to be especially careful to break the Fetchlands while the Landstill player is doing the same or temporarily tapped out to avoid Stifle.


The problem with Disk is that a full turn to react is an eternity in Type One – especially if the opponent is prepared to deal with Disk with Rack and Ruin or Mogg Salvage.


Madness

There are a number of archetypes that are designed to abuse the madness mechanic. Some are built to be pure aggro, some are built using Bazaar of Baghdad. Here is one of the more disruptive builds that I’ve come across that I think will prove to have startling success in tournaments in the near future.


U/G Madness:

JP Meyer

4 Tropical Island

4 Wasteland

4 Polluted Delta

3 Island

3 Forest

1 Strip Mine

3 Null Rod

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Black Lotus

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Aquamoeba

4 Arrogant Wurm

2 Wonder

4 Force of Will

4 Circular Logic

4 Brainstorm

2 Deep Analysis

1 Gush

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall

Sideboard

4 Stupefying Touch

4 Oxidize

3 Sword of Fire and Ice (The Secret Of Steel)

3 Back to Basics

1 Wonder



It is actually a little frustrating how good this deck is. This is something like Fish with men the size of Juggernauts.


How does it play?

On turn 1, it generally does nothing other than Brainstorm to try to set itself up. On turn 2, it will drop a Wild Mongrel or an Aquamoeba. After that, your deck better have either won the game, or established a great offense/defense, because this deck is coming after you hard. It plays extremely aggressively from this point out. It uses the Madness outlets and accelerants like Black Lotus to play cheap threats like Arrogant Wurm and Basking Rootwalla. It will back up its threats with tempo abusers such as Circular Logic and hosers like Null Rod. Essentially what happens is that your life total will drop from 20 to 17-14, and thereafter to 7-10, and then you will be dead by turn 5. The deck swings in with seven to eight points of damage a turn unless you survive into the midgame. Not unlike Fish or GroAtog, it attempts to create such tremendous board advantage that the opponent is unable to utilize his deck effectively because he can’t do anything but try to stop the Madness.


Difficulty of Play

The biggest problem with this deck and decks like Tog is that people won’t understand how to play it just by putting together the decklist. You must learn to play the deck extremely fast. If you aren’t aiming for lethal kill by turn 5, you aren’t playing the deck correctly. I foresee too many people being frustrated by the deck, simply because they are playing it at a more leisurely pace.


Strengths

This deck came out of nowhere and has the benefit of being made up from that insane set of cards that Psychatog came from. By now, everyone knows how good Wild Mongrel really is. It also resides in two extremely powerful colors. Most Type One players are aware of the growing strength of green in the format. This deck is fast and highly disruptive. The sideboard answers are well thought out and it is no wonder that this deck performs so well. The deck has posted good matchups against both Slavery builds and many other decks in the format. The decklist is also fresh and new and as such can catch some unwary players by surprise.


Weaknesses

Bloody few. A resolved Chalice for two is a real problem game one. Game two it has four Oxidize to deal with Chalice and Stupefying Touch to deal with Welders and Togs. This deck may be too slow to combat broken combo decks like Rector, Draw7 and Belcher. But Oxidize certainly helps against the latter. Against Tog, Wonder is a real threat as well. Against combo decks, just hope to see Force of Will and then drop Null Rod.


Concluding Observations

JP and Rian have said that adding Red to the deck isn’t feasible, but of course, I don’t believe them. Red could prove a potent third color for this deck at low cost with Fetchlands. Fire/Ice may be a better answer than Stupid Touch to Welders and Flametongue Kavu would be an excellent addition to the sideboard or even maindeck. Red may make this deck ever better. Then again, it might not.


Until next time,

Stephen Menendian

Smmenen at lycos dot com
P.S.

Come to Columbus this weekend for T1 Tournament and win a Mox. Sat. May 15th, deck registration starts at Noon. Unlimited Proxies allowed. First prize is a Mox or $200 cash. The Soldiery Inc – Northwest 4256 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214 Come and represent! If you want to get in some good practice for Type One with some strong competition – come and play!