SCG Daily – Splitting Headache in Standard, Part 2

Zac continues his examination of a new and intriguing deck in Standard. Looking for a break from the norm? Then try this out for size…

Yesterday, I brought you the following deck…

I answered a few pertinent questions about the build. Today, I answer some more.

What if your opponent has no cards in hand?

Right, I’m glad you can read Ignite Memories and discover the readily apparent drawback on the card. Sure, if your opponent nuts his hand out there, then you’ve got four dead cards. Fortunately, you’ve also got Goblins.

But don’t Char decks get rid of their hand on something like turn 3?

Sure, sometimes. Other times, though, they’ve got a single card in hand, and it’s a Char or Solifuge or something, and they don’t have mana open to cast it. This makes Ignite much better against them than against any other deck, because you’re Bolting with each iteration. Ignite Memories doesn’t have to hit Angel of Despair or Akroma every time to be a giant ting. That said, Char decks and Ghazi-Glare are your worst matchups game 1.

What happens if your Ignite Memories randomly doesn’t kill them?

That is a legitimate problem. Fortunately, this deck has about the best draw step I have ever seen, because 1) you have so few lands and 2) you can always use more mana. Even if you hit a giant land clump, it just makes it more likely that you can cantrip your way into three straight spells and win out of nowhere anyway.

I mean, right, the deck has issues, like all decks. I can’t answer every What-If. Yes, drawing a hand with three Infernal Tutors and a bunch of kill spells cuts harder than an AFI fan, but them’s the breaks. That’s why you ship it. All decks have problems; that’s why nothing boasts a 100% win percentage. But I’m pretty confident in this here creation.

II. Sideboarding.

The sideboard looks a little “questionable,” but it makes sense if you think about it. It might seem odd that for your worst matchup game 1 you board in five cards, while for your best you board in ten. But that’s because you can’t just sit around thinking that you’re playing against the same deck games 2 and 3 that you were the first time around. Due to Dragonstorm, every slower deck has a trump plan in mind post-board, whereas the faster decks just hope to kill you beforehand.

So what is your plan?

Take out the Empty the Warrens, Brain Pry, and Baubles for Sprees, Bobs, and Solifuges.

The Wrath decks are going to keep in Wraths, but board out all their other removal. This means you can sit around drawing cards with Bob while getting in there for two a turn. When he dies – because they’ll have to kill him – then you say Solifuge Ya! Eventually, you’ll kill them with a substantially-sized Ignite Memories.

Now, of course, if you kill with Memories game 1 then people’ll be more cautious about keeping six-mana spells in their hand. That’s unfortunate, but that’s why you change gameplans, and it’s not like they’ll always be able to keep the big’uns out of their grip. Plus, if they do, that means they’re not wrecking you with them.

The non-Wrath slow decks are still probably going to board in Pyroclasm (or have Wildfire or something) so you can use the same plan against them. The bottom line, though, is that you absolutely have to have some way to deal with things like Trickbind or Shadow of Doubt so that you don’t just get trumped. As a bonus, you actually give them more dead cards. Basic transformational board logic, I know, but it’s worth reiterating.

Also, if you’re real afraid of them reanimating an Akroma or something and killing you on the spot, you can board in Hit / Run in place of more random cantrips. This has a nice side bonus of letting you completely disrupt their acceleration and manabase with five artifact-kill spells post-board.

Against Ghazi-Glare and Char decks, you bring in Grapeshot and Hit / Run in place of two Ignite Memories and the Brain Pries, or alternatively you can take out four Memories and one Pry. The logic behind Hit / Run is this: you’ll never have a problem generating 10-12 Goblin tokens on turn 4 or so (this statement, by the way, holds true generally). The problem emerges when that’s just not enough. Against Glare, for example, you’ll probably have to chump-block that turn anyway to avoid dying, and then you can’t get enough damage through their blockers to kill them. With Hit / Run though, you can make ten guys instead of twelve (holding a Ritual), chump block to avoid dying, and then just swing through for 64 damage and kill them in one fell swoop. You use the same basic plan against Char decks, only it’s a little easier because they can’t randomly wreck you with Glare if they left it in for some reason, and they can’t Hierarch themselves out of burn range.

I also had this idea about a Blood Moon-type sideboard with the Bobs and Solifuges and just trying to lock down the game real early. The problem was that I didn’t really know how reliable it would be, and I didn’t want to lock myself (barring Star and Lotus) out of Black mana.

I’m going to get more theoretical later on in the week, but for now I’ll leave y’all with this. I think the deck is very, very good, and I would love it more people started playing/tweaking it. Props to my roommate for this final list, and to Blaine for (naturally) butchering this list and making it worse in every way. Heh-heh.

Take it for a spin. Somehow, it’s pretty nice to feel like you’re playing Vintage when everybody else is dropping Elephants, Blazes, and Zombifies.

Oh, and sorry if I stole anybody’s Worlds tech. You can put it on my tab.

See ya tomorrow,