For those of you who recognize the reference I made in my title, this article is not about politics OR Saturday Night Live. Actually, it – like all other articles I write – is about Magic. But, this one is a bit different.
Usually I write something about the storyline, or new rules, or my opinion of things. Occasionally I’ll do an analysis of the environment or some rogue deck idea. This time, I’m being serious. I’m going to share with you an amazing deck that got me second place in a big tournament. I didn’t know how absolutely amazing this deck was until I played it, but if I’d read the article I’m about to read, maybe I would – as you will soon.
But first, the decklist, divided into three parts:
4x Parallax Wave
4x River Boa
2x Nightwind Glider
2x Thermal Glider
4x Noble Panther
4x Charging Troll
4x Llanowar Elves
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Elfhame Palace
4x Aura Mutation
3x Last Breath
2x Light of Day
2x Circle of Protection: Red
1x Thermal Glider
1x Nightwind Glider
2x Kavu Chameleon
As you can see, the deck is basically a G/W BlastoGeddon deck, but this version is absolutely amazing. This week I’ll give you a card-by-card analysis, and next week I’ll give you a more general overview of the deck. (You KNOW it’s good when I dedicate two weeks to it!)
Armageddon is very rampant in the environment today, and this deck’s no exception. With eight mana critters and twenty-two land, half the deck is dedicated to mana. Therefore, surviving Armageddon is much easier for you than for your opponent. Many times my opponent has been praying for an answer, and Armageddon seals their doom.
Wow! This card proved to be totally awesome. The power behind this card is phenomenal! During the tournament, I used it to fade out my creatures because of Wrath of God, to destroy an Enchant Creature card, and as bait for an Aura Mutation. In my semi-finalist match, topdecking this sealed the game, as I could fade out his three blockers, attack with my lone Kavu Chameleon (Perish is harsh), and Wax for the final points of damage. I love this card!
Talk about versatility. This is the only split card I’ve tested with, but I think that it’s among the best – especially in this deck. Wane takes care of opposing Parallax Waves, Saproling Bursts, and so on, and Wax saves your critters from Urza’s Rage and blocking creatures, and can be used to deal the final points of damage. There were tons of times during the tournament when I was hoping to topdeck this card.
In today’s environment, when you construct a deck, you need to ask yourself three questions: "How do I deal with Wave/Wrath?" "How do I deal with ‘Geddon?" and "How do I deal with Blastoderm?" River Boa is the answer to the third question. A cheap regenerator is one of the best ways to deal with Blastoderm. This is the card that I sided out most often, but I don’t see that necessarily as a bad thing. If a deck performs so tightly that you can’t stand to side anything out, then you’ve got a problem. PolitiQuotes performs well with or without River Boas, adding to the deck’s versatility.
I didn’t find Blastoderm to be as key as I’d thought it would be, though it was always trouble for my opponent. In many close games, Blastoderm was the deciding factor. When my board was cleared because of black/red removal, Blastoderm saved the day by worming its way to the top of the deck. Overall, a 5/5 for four is great, especially in a deck where its fading isn’t really all that important.
There’s a lot of black/red going around, and these cards are HARSH against those decks. Often you’ll realize whether they’re running more black or red removal, and you can exchange one for the other when you sideboard. But other than evading black/red decks, these guys fly, and that ability proved to be very useful. Being able to bypass ground creatures became vitally important sometimes. Also, the Gliders have surprise value. Several times I heard questioning remarks (or cursing of bad luck) when a Glider hit the table. This is an ingenious inclusion, overall.
A 3/3 for three? I thought Wizards was slowing down in the broken department. And it can get First Strike? (Collective "oooh") Actually, I gave Noble Panther First Strike very rarely, but a second-turn 3/3 was always bad for my opponent. I’d have to take my shoes off to count the number of times my Panther’s got Hammered, but that was okay; it left less removal for Charging Troll, Nightwind Glider, mana critters, etc. Overall, this is one tough cat.
A lot of people told me that Charging Troll isn’t any good. To them I say, "CHARGING TROLL IS AMAZING!" It’s like a Serra Boa. It regenerates and doesn’t tap to attack; plus, it’s a strong 3/3. This is another way to stop Blastoderm, but it can go on the offensive AND stay back to block. I’ve seen a variant of this deck played with Armadillo Cloak, and when that card was put on Charging Troll, the game ended. But I didn’t need Armadillo Cloak to make the Troll soar. Its 3/3 regenerating madness held its own throughout the entire tournament. I’d run this over Chimeric Idol any day!
"First turn Elf, second turn Panther/Glider" was very common all day long. You just can’t say no to Llanowar Elves in a deck with Forests, especially when running Armageddon. Plus, the extra offensive really came in handy sometimes.
BIRDS OF PARADISE
These guys basically just produced mana. However, when I was facing down big creatures, my Birds were always there to chump if I needed them to.
Land. The land count makes the deck spill over to 62 cards, but I didn’t feel any negative effects because of the extra cards. (You musta been channeling Jamie – The Ferrett)
AURA MUTATION (sideboard)
C’mere, Saproling Burst! Instead of YOU getting five Saprolings, how about *I* do it? This card is also great against Parallax Wave. Destroy the Wave and have instant blockers! Plus you can use it on your own fading enchantments to make them last longer.
LAST BREATH (sideboard)
This sideboard card is used against Pyre Zombie and Nether Spirit. I also used it in a pinch against Blazing Specter. Excellent sideboard choice.
LIGHT OF DAY (sideboard)
Black creatures can’t attack OR block; that last part is especially effective. This card shuts down black and black/red because black/red’s attackers are pretty much all black. Although you’ll still be susceptible to Pyre Zombie sacrificing itself and burn, Light of Day really slows down the offensive.
CIRCLE OF PROTECTION: RED (sideboard)
This takes care of the other half of the black/red deck’s offensive. Plus, black/red has no enchantment removal, so it’s all good.
THERMAL/NIGHTWIND GLIDER (sideboard)
Generally, one of these would get sided in for the other, depending upon what color you’re playing against. However, if you just need more fliers, or you want to utilize an opponent’s Crusade, these might come in for River Boas.
KAVU CHAMELEON (sideboard)
Not only does this survive Perish, Wash Out, and Story Circle, but it’s a 4/4. That’s huge! The ability to withstand most control features (especially most of black’s targeted removal) is an excellent advantage that Kavu Chameleon has over other creatures. Add in the fact that it can’t be countered, and you’ve got yourself a winner!
Well, there you have a card-by-card analysis of the deck. Next week, I’ll relate to you just how amazing this deck actually plays as a whole instead of as separate pieces. Keep your eyes open!