Ten Extended Decks To Beat, Part 5: Trade-Survival And Special K

Ten Extended Decks to Beat: Trade-Survival A fairly new archetype, Trade-Survival dominated the Gateway Masters tournament, winning it for William "Baby Huey" Jensen. The deck depends upon getting out an early and using one or two copies of , to start the engine and pulling out the creatures it needs from the deck. is the…

Ten Extended Decks to Beat: Trade-Survival

A fairly new archetype, Trade-Survival dominated the Gateway Masters tournament, winning it for William "Baby Huey" Jensen. The deck depends upon getting out an early Survival of the Fittest and using one or two copies of Squee, Goblin Nabob, to start the engine and pulling out the creatures it needs from the deck. Tradewind Rider is the usual kill card, establishing a bounce-lock on an opponent, or the deck can bring out a large game-ending creature like Morphling or Masticore.

Trade-Survival seems to be a direct descendant of Rec-Sur decks, replacing the black component of the deck normally used for one half of the Recurring Nightmare/Survival of the Fittest engine with blue for a splash of countermagic and library searching. Squee is replacement for Recurring Nightmare. Once Survival of the Fittest is in play, a player can activate it once to fish out Squee, activate it again to put Squee in the graveyard and from there they can use Survival for "free" for the rest of the game. This powerful mechanic makes this deck one of the most powerful in Extended.

Trade-Survival decks do inherit the "tutoring" methodology of Rec-Sur decks, generally running one of individual creatures that can be whistled up to handle whatever an opponent plays, including Uktabi Orangutan, Bone Shredder, Ophidian, Spike Weaver, Monk Realist – the list goes on and on.

The deck runs a fairly light mana base, usually between sixteen to eighteen lands, augmented by four Land Grant. Four Birds of Paradise and four Wall of Roots help to augment this mana base and give it access to multiple sources of mana.

As run by William Jensen, Gateway Masters Tournament

4x Survival of the Fittest
4x Tradewind Rider
4x Wall of Roots
4x Birds of Paradise
4x Land Grant
4x Force of Will
4x Brainstorm
2x Impulse
2x Mana Leak
1x Spike Weaver
1x Squee, Goblin Nabob
2x Quirion Ranger
1x Uktabi Orangutan
4x Counterspell
1x Deranged Hermit
1x Morphling
1x Ophidian
6x Forest
4x Tropical Island
5x Island
1x Savannah

1x Daring Apprentice
1x Uktabi Orangutan
1x Masticore
1x Gilded Drake
1x Spike Feeder
1x Bottle Gnomes
1x Monk Realist
4x Emerald Charm
4x Back to Basics

Jensen’s deck runs a little more deck searching in the form of Impulse and Brainstorm than some other decks, and the sideboard is tuned very nicely to be able to pull out defense against other archetypes – Back to Basics for decks filled with non-basic lands, and a lot of defense against Trix (Bottle Gnomes, Daring Apprentice, Spike Feeder, Emerald Charm).

Deck MVP:
Survival of the Fittest. Double duh.

Strongest Against:
Given how well the deck did against the field at the Gateway Masters tournament, I’d have to say it’s pretty much strong against the entire field. (Yep – Good call, especially considering that you wrote this before the Extended PTQs – The Ferrett) I’m sure, however, that other decks are being appropriately built in defense, and Trade-Survival will take no one by surprise.

Weakest Against:
Does this deck have a weakness? Anything that can remove Squee from the game would slow the deck down but not cripple it. Certain cards are certainly effective against Trade-Survival – Swords to Plowshares, Cursed Totem and maybe Scour or Honor the Fallen.

In My Own Humble Opinion:
Until someone proves otherwise, this is one of the current defining archetypes of Extended.

Ten Extended Decks to Beat: Special K

"Special K" is yet another offshoot of the "Fruity Pebbles" archetype, again keeping the familiar cereal-centric name, although this one is more closely related to "Wheaties," the Necro + Pebbles variant.

To look at the decklist, you’d think this is one of the jankiest decks in creation. The Fruity Pebbles engine – Goblin Bombardment, Enduring Renewal and Shield Sphere – has been stripped down to its bare essentials, as if you were stripping all the excess weight from a car to convert it to a hot rod. To get the engine into play, the deck uses Academy Rector and sacrifice effects, such as with Phyrexian Ghoul or Goblin Bombardment. Survival of the Fittest speeds up the combo, and there are Elves and Birds a-plenty to accelerate the mana base.

Cards like Saproling Burst give the deck a little added defense against rush decks and perhaps a little beatdown if it is called for, and it can get around an in-play Enduring Renewal, as can the Krovikan Horror.

Special K
As run by Rob Dougherty, Gateway Masters Tournament

1x Enduring Renewal
1x Shield Sphere
3x Goblin Bombardment
4x Duress
4x Phyrexian Ghoul
4x Academy Rector
2x Krovikan Horror
1x Pattern of Rebirth
2x Saproling Burst
4x Survival of the Fittest
2x Llanowar Elves
4x Birds of Paradise
3x Wall of Roots
1x Quirion Ranger
2x Fyndhorn Elves
4x Bayou
3x Taiga
4x Savannah
3x City of Brass
2x Gemstone Mine
2x Swamp
4x Forest

3x Spike Feeder
2x Uktabi Orangutan
1x Ebony Charm
2x Coercion
1x Monk Realist
1x Elvish Lyrist
4x Pyroblast
1x Aura Fracture

Deck MVP:
Academy Rector, with its ability to put any enchantment into play, gives the deck much of its versatility.

Strongest Against:
Sligh is stopped dead by the appearance of the Rector, as is any other rush deck. Of course, if no Rector shows up, Special K is in a bit of trouble.

Weakest Against:
Countermagic and bounce would have a deleterious effect upon this deck, which depends upon putting its combo into place and keeping it on the table. Trade-Survival would therefore seem to be the bane of this deck.

In My Own Humble Opinion:
This was a popular choice at the Gateway tournament, and almost any deck named after a cereal is dangerous. However, the deck seems to be a little too stripped down for my tastes. Then again, I’m not a Pro Tour player, so what do I know (aside from the fact that I won’t be playing this at the upcoming PTQs)?