The Also-Rans: Other Decks Swarming About For Regionals

Creating decks is a very opinionated thing – and Will offers up seven decks that are having success in various places, but not smashing tournaments. Yet.

Sometimes, you just have to step down from having an opinion on the goings on of the Magic world, chippin’ in with a voice on questions like,”Is blue too strong?” and”Does the DCI really represent the players?”

And sometime you have to just pop forth with some decks.

Creating decks is a very opinionated thing, too. Most of the time, if we’re going to some PTQ or whatnot we’re going to take and play the best thing we can. The problem with presenting ideas publicly like this is the really”best” decks usually only have a limited place and time that’s only definitively known after the fact. In this, we get periods of time where a deck like Tog is”best,” followed by a”Tog is dead” phase, as a momentarily-superior deck gets hated down or even out. Even if you run a net deck or one of my ideas you are going to have to put your own tweaks on it. That’s why when I last talked about a deck, Instant Guitars, I tried to point out mostly that you could try Holistic Wisdom and fool around with what you liked and then posted a”base” decklist as more or less a starting point for individuals to work and tweak from.

So it will go this week. I’m going to toss out a lot of base decks that I’m familiar with, and you can go from there…


If you’ve read my bio, you would know that first I was a fan of black. It recently pleased me to no end to hear about a black deck winning a Type One gathering that used Stone-Throwing Devils. Ahh, those were the days. Ritual, Black Knight, Unholy Strength

But those days are past, and thankfully Wizards has put us all onto a new black.

The way I see it, there are basically three black decks – sort of in the way that there are three types of Red/Green decks. There’s a really fast weenie one, and mid-range one – and lastly, a”fat” one, which in this case winds up being related to control in the three black decks I’m about to toss out.

First up, the weenies.

Corporal Dan is on a tear.

Marines Black

By CPL Dan Rowland

4 Nantuko Shade

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Mesmeric Fiend

4 Foul Imp

4 Putrid Imp

3 Blood Pet

3 Ichorid

4 Strength of Lunacy

2 Unholy Strength

3 Ghastly Demise

3 Chainer’s Edict

4 Duress

18 Swamp

Play out the black critters. Pump the black critters. Send them at your opponent like there’s no tomorrow. Nuthin’ fancy going on here, but it works. I think Dan has said he’s something like 23-2-1 with this deck appearing in (I believe) a top 4 and two finals along the way. You can read more about his exploits with this thing over at CCG Prime. Try”Ravings of a Lunatic” #71.

Midrange Black

This is the first black deck that I put together and I played it pretty exclusively online for about a week. It didn’t lose. Not once. It seemed versatile enough, too, as I played it in many duels and in multiplayer.

4 Blood Pet

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Nantuko Shade

4 Phyrexian Rager

4 Faceless Butcher

3 Ichorid

3 Laquatus’s Champion

4 Chainer’s Edict

4 Duress

2 Addle

4 Phyrexian Arena

3 Cabal Coffers

17 Swamps

In all that time, I never really got screwed landwise; I was probably quite lucky on that. I mean, I did get screwed in a few games, but that was offset by generally vicious poundings during the rest of the match. That’s a part of the”Suicidal” aspect of this deck: You risk life and limb to hopefully come out on top. You trade life for cards. You throw some disruption into the mix. You gamble that you’ll get three swamps in your first ten cards…And when you do, you generally beat the patootie out of your opponent.

I love black.

Control Black

Another popular build and I’ve got one neat little tweak that I think helps tremendously.

4 Duress

4 Addle

4 Innocent Blood

4 Chainers Edict

2 Mutilate

4 Tainted Aether

4 Soul Burn

2 Corrupt

2 Haunting Echoes

2 Yawgmoth’s Agenda

3 Jayemdae Tome

3 Cabal Coffers

22 Swamp

It’s the Tome, folks. I’ve only lost once where I resolved the Tome. I’ve won seven of ten matches with this deck, and probably shoulda won an eighth. Kibler’s Braids deck – or really, any Braids deck – is a problem because this thing needs a lot of land to”go off.” Yeah, I’ve kicked out the Soul Burn for thirty-two.

The Corrupts are the weakest link, which others who’ve written about the deck have noticed. I might like the third Mutilate and either another land; probably the fourth Coffers, or a fourth Tome. A deck like this makes silly mana in the mid-game, and the Tome is a great place to use that mana. And like any control deck, this one and ones like it really need to draw extra cards.

One thing to notice about black these days is that you can build some good decks rather cost effectively. In Dan’s deck, only the Shades and Ichorids are hard to get or costly. My control deck only really has Mutilate, Haunting Echoes, and perhaps Agenda that are top-end rare cards – and it can do without the Agendas. Substitutions aren’t hard to find for many of the other cards.


Mike? Is the honeymoon over yet?



I’ve been thinking that Flores and the gang would start showing up at Neutral Ground with some new G/W/B”junk” incarnation. I mean, they seem to do that just about this time every year. Since it hasn’t happened yet, you’ll have to settle for my attempt.

All Your Base Junk Are Belong To Us

4 Birds of Paradise

3 Llanowar Elf

4 Chainer’s Edict

4 Pernicious Deed

4 Vindicate

4 Spectral Lynx

4 Call of the Herd

4 Spiritmonger

3 Mystic Enforcer

4 Brushland

4 Llanowar Waste

6 Forest

5 Plains

5 Swamps

There’s so much room to tweak and fiddle with this one. Bennie Smith likes Gerrard’s Verdict, and I can’t blame him. Some might try Armadillo Cloak in the main deck. Skeletal Scrying might have a place. The one pertinent question at this point in Standard is probably if this deck can afford to try and play so few creatures with Chainer’s Edict and Innocent Blood about. This is why I’ve taken a differing tack from what a straight changeover from the most recent successful Extended builds would offer. Extended, I think, is much more oriented toward control and combo, where more discard is warranted. Standard’s current RG bent calls for more moderate to big creatures to appear faster to add to the disruption that is the deck’s hallmark.

We could go on and on, but I’ll just put forth my”base” junk deck and let you folks try and fit this into your metagame. Of course, one of the other strengths of this type of deck at the moment is the great variety of sideboard options that these three colors provide.

Evolution of Guitars – The Song Remains the Same

Really there wasn’t much in Torment to add to the Holistic Wisdom-using counter control deck I’ve brought forth… And I haven’t changed the base deck at all. Of course the one thing to do was to use Guitars as a base for a Plagiarize deck. Holistic Wisdom would allow you in the mid-game to go for a Plagiarize”lock” of sorts gaining massive card advantage. Peter Jahn delivered the deck here at Star City first, but I’ll give you my build.

3 Harrow

4 Opt

4 Force Spike

4 Counterspell

4 Syncopate

4 Repulse

4 Plagiarize

2 Beast Attack

2 Urza’s Rage

4 Pernicious Deed

3 Holistic Wisdom

4 Yavimaya Coast

7 Island

6 Forest

3 Urborg Volcano

1 Swamp

1 Mountain

The objective is clear enough. Counter and build to the mid-game where you can try and Plagiarize your opponent every turn, then either Rage them out or start the beats with 4/4 Beast tokens.

Beyond this I haven’t approached too many other top flight decks beyond doing more-or-less unoriginal stuff like putting Quirion Dryad in a SnakeTongue knockoff. Much of my time was spent playing multiplayer with any number of odd decks. Four hundred-card U/W decks without Battle of Wits. (I’ll save you from a decklist and analysis.)

I also played any number of Domain variants, including”The Birds” that utilized Ordered Migration and Coat of Arms and was all sorceries to boot. It also included – you guessed it – Holistic Wisdom to turn late extraneous Lay of the Lands and Rampant Growths into more useful Concentrates, Allied Strategies, or Migrations for more bird tokens. That may leave me with just one other deck idea to throw out here….

Turbo Fog

Initially, this came out of some ideas that several folks tossed around on the Meridian mailing list. I’m not sure who to point to for the primary credit at this point, but the idea has been around for some time as it is and I’ll just give you my listing.

2 Ancestral Tribute

4 Wrath of God

2 Rout

2 Restock

4 Moment’s Peace

4 Orim’s Chant

4 Tangle

4 Hero’s Reunion

4 Life Burst

4 Howling Mine

2 Millstone

4 Brushland

4 Elfhame Palace

9 Forest

7 Plains

This thing just ate up R/G decks; too much attack disruption and creature burying for them to run you over. Too much lifegain for them to burn you out. However, that being said, these colors just about roll over and die to any deck using islands – such is life. (Or lifegain – The Ferrett, snickering) There is some advantage to being creatureless, and I think this sort of deck stands a chance against mono black as well.

There is a blue/white version as well much more like old-school U/W control…

Almost Levi’s list

4 Syncopate

4 Absorb

4 Counterspell

4 Wrath of God

2 Rout

4 Opt

4 Fact or Fiction

4 Reviving Vapors

4 Life Burst

1 Ancestral Tribute

3 Millstone

8 Island

4 Plains

4 Coastal Tower

4 Adarkar Wastes

2 Cephalid Coliseum

There you go; some deck listings and ideas to think about as Regionals approach. No great playtesting was put into any of this – Binary is still in a bit of a skid – but these are ideas that my”seat of the pants” intuition and experience with in random games on MOL have lead me to put them to print. Hope you’ve found something to like, inspire, or enjoy.


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