I’ve been accused of many things during my life: that I like to argue for the sake of arguing (true), that I never admit when I am wrong (false), that I am afraid of driving (true), that I am wealthy (patently false), that I am arrogant (sorta), that I am a gentleman is every sense of the word (true), and that I absolutely love tempo in my decks (probably not as true as it used to be).
I haven’t built a tempo deck in a while, so I figure that it is high time. I used to put tempo effects into virtually every deck, from Winter Orbs to Tangle Wires, I was a one-man tempo machine. Since then, my skills as a Magic player have diversified, leaving tempo behind. I still like a good old fashioned raucous tempo deck, however.
I always wanted to remake the classic Prison deck in the wake of Mirrodin block. Now is my opportunity to do so with several crucial card being reprinted. The Prison deck is one of the first deck archetypes, and it was known for it’s ability to lock down the game with relative ease. It used Icy Manipulators, Winter Orbs, Armageddon, Relic Barriers, Howling Mines and are to lock you down, then played a Song of Titania and swung with a bunch of artifacts for game.
Sure, modern Prison-style decks still exist, like Scepter-Chant. We want the old school Prison, however. With a Song of Titania reprint in Mirrodin and the reprinting of Icy Manipulator and Relic Barrier, now is the time to try history once more. Where possible, I will try to have as few older cards as I can.
4 Howling Mine
2 Winter Orb
2 Static Orb
4 Icy Manipulator
4 Relic Barrier
4 Ghostly Prison
2 March of the Machines
4 Wrath of God
4 Tundra (or Adarkar Wastes)
4 Rishadan Port
2 Blinkmoth Well
Yes, that’s right, this deck has no creatures. Each creature removal spell in your opponent’s hand is a dead card. You’ll ultimately win by attacking with your March of Machined artifacts for game. In fact, if you have enough, you can swing for game in one turn, although that is not always necessary.
Howling Mine, Static Orb, and Winter Orb all stop working when they are tapped. You can use this to your advantage by tapping them with Icy Manipulator, Blinkmoth Well, or Relic Barrier. Turn off Winter and Static Orb so that they will not effect you after hitting your opponents. Turn off Howling Mine after drawing so that you are the only one drawing cards.
For land, I had to include Tundra and Rishadan Ports. Both are ideal for this deck. Tundra gives you the needed mana without any disadvantage and Ports are highly useful in this deck. However, both have a fairly high price tag attached, and they are replaceable.
Other old cards include the old Winter Orb. I honestly believe that Winter Orb is among the best artifacts ever printed, bar none. It fits in combo, control, and aggro. It is the paragon of Tempo. It’s inclusion in the deck used to be vital, but I’d want to experiment with Static Orb more.
Without creatures to concern you, Static Orb may, in fact, be better for your deck, although it allows opponents to untap two lands a turn which is highly undesirable. With a tapper out, Winter Orb is better, but if they get disenchanted, you’d rather be under a StOrb than a WOrb. I added two of each so that you could experiment and see which better fits your playing style.
Ghostly Prison is running around due in large part to its synergy with the Orbs. In addition to that, Ghostly Prison is one of those cards that allows some opponents to overcommit their resources to play, so that you can axe them in one fell swoop with Wrath of God.
I just noticed that this is a very abbreviation heavy deck. WoG. StOrb. WOrb. Icy. Port. It shouldn’t take much energy to tell people what cards you are playing. *End stream of consciousness*
You’ve got your typical suite of countermagic. Today, we feature Counterspell and Forbid, but you can easily adjust those to your cardpool and desires. Hinder might be just as good as Forbid, for example.
I only played a quartet of Wrath of God for dedicated creature removal. Ghostly Prison slows down the inexorable creature march, while Icy Manipulator can tap down an attacker.
There are several other cards that you could play. I was considering Island Sanctuary, in order to give you a way to deck your opponent if necessary. This way you had another means to victory in case March of Machines failed.
You could run creatures like Hokori, Dust Drinker or Leonin Abunas. I prefer the creatureless route due to the whole card advantage situation, but I could understand how that might make other players uncomfortable.
A Black Vise effect might also come in handy. Any of the various Vise spin-offs might come in handy, since people should be collecting cards in hand once the deck we have here starts going.
I hope that you enjoy today’s trek through time.