They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. World Wars. A Bush presidency invades Iraq. Madonna has a chart topper. Calamities all. With that in mind, can you afford to not be prepared for what history has to throw at you?
In this installment of The Main Phase I want to explore what has worked in the past in the hopes that perhaps it will lead us in the right direction for the future. I admit that it is entirely possible that there may be nothing here… but we’ll never know if we don’t dig around every once and a while. There may be a diamond in the rough.
I want you to have a seat. Right over there, just take a seat. That’s right. Make yourself comfortable. You’re signed up for a full session, so let’s get started.
Close your eyes and think back. Back to last year. What do you remember?
First Place, Ohio States
First Place, GP: Krakow
Ah, good old Pickles. The goal of this classic is to absorb the early pressure put on it by the aggro decks and prepare for the long haul, eventually winning with the famous Pickles combo. I assume you all know what the combination of Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Brine Elemental will do to your opponent’s board and blood pressure, so I won’t break it down too much.
Adam’s version splashed some Time Spiral block technology by adding Urborg and Damnation to the sideboard, whereas Paul’s version chose to splash White in order to run things like Oblivion Ring and Wrath of God in the main. Both were successful, winning their respective tournaments.
With a pedigree like this, can this throwback once again reach the mountaintop? All of the pieces are still intact, so let’s try it and see what we get.
As you can see, my newfound love of Plumeveil knows no bounds. I haven’t done anything really special here. I took Cheon’s list and replaced the Phyrexian Iron-feet with Plumeveils and messed with the mana and the sideboard a bit. These changes reflect the metagame of today rather than that faced by Adam and Paul, which consisted of decks like Gruul and Dragonstorm instead of Faeries and Mopey Green decks.
How about another one, this time from a whole different angle?
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Mystic Snake
- 1 Ronom Unicorn
- 3 Brine Elemental
- 3 Riftwing Cloudskate
- 4 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
- 3 Body Double
- 1 Venser, Shaper Savant
- 1 Mirror Entity
- 4 Mulldrifter
- 3 Reveillark
- 2 Devoted Druid
I saw a list from some tournament in London that was kind of like this. I am excited to see if my new choice of Devoted Druid can be good, as it gets any deck five mana on turn 3. With so many cards that can be played for five mana (though most will be played for less), it may be a workable choice. Of course this is a rough draft and I am no Innovator, so before sleeving up this 75 I suggest you mess with it on your own.
Okay, this is a good start. We are making progress, but I want you to dig deeper. Further back. What do you see now?
4 Dead / Gone
4 Edge Of Autumn
3 Fiery Justice
Remember this thing? I sure do. My best chance at qualifying for the Tour during the Time Spiral block season was ruined by losses to a deck very similar to this one. The idea, of course, is that you beat the brown out of your opponent from quick beats, be they Tarmogoyf, Serra Avenger, Calciderm, or the namesake of the deck Kavu Predator. Kavu Predator has a neat little ability that makes it positively gigantic when your opponent gains life, so it combos pretty nicely with Grove of the Burnwillows and Fiery Justice.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see the card Fiery Justice being very good right now. Tapping out on your main phase for a spell that can’t target manlands just doesn’t strike me as particularly relevant. But that’s no reason to give up on a neat idea, right?
- 4 Mogg Fanatic
- 4 Kavu Predator
- 4 Keldon Marauders
- 4 Magus of the Moon
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 2 Countryside Crusher
- 4 Tattermunge Maniac
Without Justice (or any White at all) the only synergy with Predator in this deck is the Grove of the Burnwillows, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be getting any bigger. Cards like Primal Command and Kitchen Finks are seeing a lot of play, right now so your Predators won’t be staying Spawnwrithe sized very long. Mostly, this is a Magic Show Red deck (just in case Evan Erwin Apple-Fs this article) that has a little Kavu hotness splashed in there just in case.
This is a good list, but I prefer to be a tad more festive. Must be because I’m half-Greek. Or maybe it’s the fifth of Kool-Aid. Dare me to drive? Either way, let’s try this with White again, shall we?
This list is a spicy little number, if I do say so myself. I brewed this up with my buddy Wheeler. To paraphrase something he told me about this deck, there are three separate synergies going on in the first few turns. First (and most obvious) is Kavu Predator and the synergy that it has with Grove of the Burnwillows and Last Breath. After board, it also has synergies with Fiery Justice and Condemn. The second mini-combo is Tarmogoyf and Tarfire. With the goblin instant aimed at a creature, your Lhurgoyf will be attacking for at least three on turn 3. This small but often significant bonus is why we are running Tarfire over Mogg Fanatic. The third synergy is an oldie but a goodie: Troll Ascetic and Loxodon Warhammer. Fae have a very tough time dealing with a Troll, and if you pick up a Hammer then you’re really in business.
A quick note I would like to make about Vexing Shusher. This card is selling for something like fifteen bucks right now. I am flabbergasted by this. If Vexing Shusher is fifteen dollars, then Gaea’s Herald should be twenty. I just don’t get it.
I want you to really dig deep now. A long, long time ago. We’ve barely scratched the surface here. This is all recent history. I want to go way back. Tell me what you see?
Boros Deck Wins
Wow, now that’s a throwback. The story goes that you play White Weenie style for the opening turns and finish off with a lethal Char or Lightning Helix. This build also has the Boros Swiftblade and Umezawa’s Jitte combo, and if you thought a normal Jitte was a beating then you’re in for a treat.
Obviously we need to take a brand new look at this deck if we are going to adapt it to Standard. Allow me to take a shot:
- 4 Mogg Fanatic
- 1 Paladin en-Vec
- 4 Jotun Grunt
- 4 Greater Gargadon
- 4 Keldon Marauders
- 4 Burrenton Forge-Tender
- 4 Wispmare
- 4 Countryside Crusher
- 4 Tattermunge Maniac
I’ll let you all soak that one in without too much commentary.
Your time for this session is up. I hope that this has taught you a little something about respecting those who came before you. They might just come back to bite you.
Fool you once…