So it’s transition time; time to think about new things, new decks, new stuff. Yesterday, I laid down the rules – of sifting through old decklists, seeing what goes missing, and seeing what can fill those holes – and started work on Snow Dad. Let’s see what happens from here. Note that I’m only doing one two-day job. Snow Dad lost its entire engine, so it becomes a very different deck in the exchange – other decks are far more subtle shifts.
We lost a card advantage engine, so we’ll use a new one. Unfortunately, this new card advantage engine – the rebel toolkit – isn’t much of a toolkit, so we can’t do much in the way of varied creature manipulation. While you can pony up creatures every turn, only a few of your creatures are better. The Knight of the Holy Nimbus makes Kami of Ancient Law look like the worst waste of time ever. The Seekers are going to fall very short of the bar set by the busty Azorius Herald. Doomsayers… well, they’re pretty rotten. The Outrider is a tricky guy to beat on the defense – serving with three 2/2 creatures, with flanking, lets you distribute the damage elsewhere. The Outrider actually has nice synergy with the Knight of the Holy Nimbus.
I want 24 creatures. If we’re reliant on the Amrou Scout, we’re going to be fighting, hard, in the games where he doesn’t just spit up onto the table on turn 2; any deck can win on its god draw (and any deck that struggles with its god draw is a crappy deck); what’s important is maximising your chances to get that god draw, and your chances to win without it. I would love for there to be another Amrou Scout (and damnit if Amrou Kithkin doesn’t have me wanting to spell it “skout”), but Muddle the Mixture feels really ugly, and that gives me, at best, a turn 4 Scout-and-stuff.
This gives a remarkable density of three drops. Which isn’t the greatest thing ever… especially when one of them redefines Rare. If we cull out the Defiant Vanguard, that leaves us with twenty dudes. We want four more, and ideally they will also provide card advantage. Spiketail Drakeling might step in to fill the ninja’s shoes, but then that’s adding another three drop, and he’s a UU spell – making the mana even more ugly than before. However, we get another dual land.
I’m not keen on this creature base so far. It looks so very nice with the Amrou Scout; but it looks like just a chain of Grey Ogres without. The Knight of the Holy Nimbus looks wholesale retarded … but the dropoff between him and the Outrider (probably the second best dude) is distinct to say the least.
In the support spells slot, we lose:
… Wow. However, we can’t fool ourselves; we lose the entire aura engine. Which kinda sucks – there was something deliciously unfair about making a turn 3 bear, getting a Pacifism, and dropping an Azorius Chancery. So the Toolbox goes to hell:
Infiltrator’s Magemark has to take a hike. It’s the worst card in the deck, and I’m sure that Tim Aten agrees with me. Gelid Shackles has been outdone by a better card; Temporal Isolation. Gelid Shackles was cute because it meant your turn 3 could be spent making a two-drop spirit, then slapping a Gelid Shackles on someone to get them out of the way. But again – if I had the god draw, I didn’t need the help. So we can substitute out of these.
Temporal Isolation has a small problem; it does make Zealot Il–Vec blockable. Though the Zealot would only be at its best when enhanced with equipment, of course – how about we have a quick look for cheap equipment? Manriki-Gusari is going to be very missed by me now. Looking back, I’m surprised that I’ve not played with it in every damn deck I’ve played; the equipment gave all the right abilities for its cost, and the +1/+2 was an amazing way to win combat routinely, or stag up the ground.
We want to avoid one-mana spells here, too! The more of those we have, the worse our budget manabase is going to sting us. Two-drops is where we’ll thrive. Vulshok Morningstar is a four-drop, effectively; which means it slips nicely into the mana curve alongside the manifold three-drops, but once we hit four mana, we want to be spitting dudes into play off the Scout.
Grifter’s Blade, astonishingly, is a card I’m considering for this slot. Making 2/2 flankers into 3/3s suddenly makes them very menacing – trading with four-drops and five-drops, and in some cases making even their life difficult. So we’ll put Equipment on the backburner.
Twenty dudes, sixteen support spells, twenty-four lands. That’s the template. That’s what Snow Dad had – cheating a bit – and that’s what this deck wants.
I briefly entertained the idea of Magewright’s Stone in here. It will only have a bit of synergy with the Amrou Scout, but while I sifted, I did notice that the Magewright’s Stone can untap all of the Totems. Not that it matters overmuch, given how weak the effect is, but it’s still a way of getting Vigilance out of your men. In the case of the Foriysian Totem, it gives you a way to take advantage of its two abilities – trample and blocking.
So this brings us the following decklist; Ray, our Before Shot, please?
Snow Dad (CBS – 9ED – RGD – CSP Std)
Rebel Insurgence (RGD – 9ED – CSP – TSP Std)
This is what I’m going to look at pulling together once Time Spiral hits. There are no Time Spiral rares in the deck, nor any Timeshifted cards. Yet. That’s because, of course, they’re going to be savagely expensive in the coming fortnight.
See you tomorrow, folks; we’re going to look at more crappy decks with crappy rares, all seeking to sift through the new toys of the new Standard.
Hugs and Kisses
Talen at dodo dot com dot au