Tribal Thriftiness #10 – A Johnny Trip Through the Candy Shop

Read Dave Meeson every week... at StarCityGames.com!Thursday, February 14th – Feeling burnt out? Been playing the same deck for the last three years? Your inner Johnny would like to have a word with you about getting out, seeing the world, trying something new. Go on. Give in. Sure, the last time you did that you ended up playing a Bronze Bombshell deck, but you still might find something you like.

This week, I’m feeling a little burnt out. About Standard, about Extended, about Constructed Magic in general. Whenever I get to that point, I always find it fun to go poking in older binders to see what cards I’ve forgotten about, and to see what interesting things spark my deckbuilding creativity. But before we get started on that …

A Quick Aside About My Chances On The Pro Tour

… I have none.

This past weekend, I took Aggro Flow up to Denver to play in a PTQ. Certainly not a budget deck by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a short story, so bear with me. It was a build close to the one Cedric Phillips advocated on This Here Site, although I did decide on the sweet “tech” of having Sword of Light and Shadow in the sideboard. The day did not start well, as Google Maps turned against me and dropped me off in an abandoned shopping area about twenty minutes from the tournament site. I started out 1-0-1, but then lost two in a row and immediately began looking for side events. I mean, I drove the (in my case) two hours to the tournament site, may as well draft, right? Nope. They don’t run side events. In order to keep playing Magic, I have to stay in the tournament, which I do. I win another, lose another, and then call it a day and head home. The good side? With no further PTQs within (in my case) a two-hour drive, I can now completely skip over any future articles on older formats.

I still read Menendian though. That cat is brilliant. And Chapin of course.

Raiding the Dollar Rares

As a tribal block, Lorwyn tends to be fairly linear, and even though Morningtide came and gave us new lines to look down, decks still can tend to be fairly… predictable. Faeries play well with other Faeries, big surprise. So in order to splash a little diversity into my column, I think I’ll take a look and see what StarCityGames.com dollar-rare bin holds for aspiring Johnny Deckbuilders like myself.

So here are the criteria for this little challenge: Step one, pull up all Lorwyn-block rares for a dollar or less. Step two, decide that since there are only 27 of them and it will be nice to have some variety, change the selection to “two dollars or less.” Sixty! Much better. Step three, select at random.

Selection one is … Boggart Mob ($1.50)!

Boggart Mob Mentality

The Mob is an odd guy in a world of little Goblins. To start with, he’s huge – 5/5 is a large step away from the 1/1’s and 2/1’s that are “normal” Goblin sizes. Of the Lorwyn Block Goblins, only Earwig Squad matches his power, and no one comes close to his toughness. Second, he’s a Warrior in a race filled mostly with Rogues and Shamans… although there are some Warriors to back him up. His ability could potentially make a lot of Goblin Rogue tokens, so the first deck we’ll try would be to take advantage of that.

We want to be sure to have enough Goblins to pay the Champion cost of Boggart Mob, so again we’re heading into the linear build, but since we’re going for numbers rather than initial damage, we’ll still be taking a different tack. Also, we want to make sure that the Goblins that we DO use will have a good chance of getting in and doing damage in order to trigger the Mob’s ability – guys like Skirk Shaman and Caterwauling Boggart become better for the overall scheme of the deck.

4 Boggart Mob
4 Skirk Shaman
4 Caterwauling Boggart
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Spiderwig Boggart
3 Stingscourger
3 Warren Pilferers

4 Warren Weirding
4 Ground Rift
3 Roar of the Crowd
2 Empty the Warrens

22 Land

Notes on the rest of the cards:

Mogg War Marshall also plays into the idea of creating a whole mess of Goblin tokens. Obviously another great choice for this deck would be Siege-Gang Commander ($7.50), which is a little out of the price range of this column, but if you have one around, it certainly fits.

Stingscourger’s sole job is to bounce a potential blocker, to make sure that your Goblin army gets in for damage and triggers Boggart Mob. Same thing with Ground Rift, which could also leave your opponent defenseless to one last attack, and Spiderwig Boggart, who will let you sneak one guy through.

Warren Pilferers are a good, hasty attacker that can fetch back things that have been used – well over half the deck is Goblins.

Warren Weirding and Roar of the Crowd are both removal cards that play into the deck’s idea of generating a bunch of little Goblins. Roar of the Crowd can quite easily be a finisher in this deck. And Empty the Warrens, of course, works the whole token angle.

Another option would be to run the deck as mono-Black:

4 Boggart Mob
4 Facevaulter
4 Prickly Boggart
4 Spiderwig Boggart
4 Squeaking Pie Sneak
3 Shriekmaw
3 Skirk Ridge Exhumer
2 Weirding Shaman ($1.25)

4 Warren Weirding
3 Nameless Inversion
3 Pack’s Disdain

22 Swamp

With a number of Fear guys and an extra token maker in Skirk Ridge Exhumer, this deck tries to just sneak guys past your opponent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the game-ending Roar of the Crowds, instead having to rely on the combat phase and using the less-swingy Pack’s Disdain. And yes, I know Shriekmaw isn’t a Goblin, but he’s still really good, and plays into the Fear theme that this deck brings.

I could continue, because I’d like to try out a Goblin Warrior deck with Obsidian Battle-Axe, but it’s time to roll the dice again.

Selection two is … Supreme Exemplar ($1.25)!

I’d Like to Upgrade to … SUPREME

There is no Timmy in the world that does not love a 10/10 flyer. I mean, technically this guy is better than Akroma, Angel of Wrath – bigger, plus not one of her protected colors, all for a similar casting cost. Plus, did I mention he’s a 10/10? That’s a big boy!

Another Champion creature means that we want to pack as many Elementals into the deck as possible to make sure we have something to put away for later. If they have comes-into-play or leaves-play abilities, that’s just a little bit of gravy. And, as Elementals are a tribe across all colors, we first ought to look at what other color or colors to pair with the Blue… or if we even want a second color at all.

White: If there was one Elemental you would want to play with Supreme Exemplar, I think it would be Meadowboon. “For when a 10/10 Flying Elemental just won’t do!” White also has Hoofprints of the Stag ($2.50), a great way to get 4/4 flying Elementals for just doing what you normally do every turn.

Blue: We start out the list with Mulldrifter, since drawing cards is always good. Aethersnipe has a comes-into-play ability, and Nevermaker has a leaves-play ability. And in terms of flying attackers, we have Air Elemental and Cloud Elemental. The downside is that all of these guys are somewhat expensive, and we’d need to figure out some sort of way to survive until we can play out the bigger creatures.

Black: Shriekmaw is, again, excellent, and this time he’s even the right tribe. Beyond that it gets a little thin. The other three Black Elementals (Festercreep, Mournwhelk, and Offalsnout) are all more likely to be in the graveyard, and therefore less than helpful in Championing out the Exemplar.

Red: Red is, of course, the color of the Flamekin, which gives us a long list to look at. I’ve mentioned Smokebraider before as being ideal for just about any Elemental deck, and this case is no exception. It also means we can use Flamekin Harbinger to fetch out our 10/10 flyer.

Green: I also like the interaction between Supreme Exemplar and Walker of the Grove. Never mind replacing one Elemental with another – give me two Elementals for the price of one! Briarhorn is good enough to see play, and Fertilid could speed us towards a quicker Exemplar.

I like the interactions in Green and White, so I think I’ll start with those two.

4 Supreme Exemplar
4 Mulldrifter
4 Nevermaker
4 Meadowboon
4 Squall Drifter
3 Aethersnipe
3 Air Elemental

4 Ponder
4 Condemn
2 Hoofprints of the Stag

24 Land

Condemn and Squall Drifter will help you survive until you can get the bigger guys online. Obviously a deck like this would love Wrath of God, just to survive until you can drop an Air Elemental or other big blocker, so if you have those, feel free to use them.

4 Supreme Exemplar
4 Walker of the Grove
4 Fertilid
4 Mulldrifter
3 Cloud Elemental
3 Briarhorn
3 Aethersnipe

4 Familiar’s Ruse
4 Ponder
3 Search for Tomorrow

24 Land

The Fertilids and Search for Tomorrow will accelerate you into faster Exemplars. I included Cloud Elemental because he’s a fairly cheap flyer that will benefit from Briarhorn’s ability. The land probably should include Llanowar Reborn. Again, 11/11 flyer > 10/10 flyer.

There is probably a Blue/Red and a five-color deck out there somewhere, but I think I like the Green one here. It does fun things, plus how could you NOT love a 10/10 flyer? But let’s go on …

Selection three is … Titan’s Revenge ($2.00)!

Revenge Is a Dish Best Served … Over and Over and Over

And finally we move away from the Tribal linear design and into the other mechanic that Lorwyn brought us. Remember Clash? Yeah, it’s good times, especially when attached to a recurring Fireball.

But recurring Fireballs are only good when you actually are recurring them, and because of the Clash mechanic, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be winning. So the first aim of a deck of this nature should be to make sure you are maximizing the chances that you win a Clash. And while you could make a deck filled with expensive things to make sure you always win, I think a deck like that would probably roll over pretty quickly before being able to cast anything big. So instead, I think we should focus on limiting the chances we automatically lose a Clash, but playing cards that fetch lands out of our deck.

And on the bonus side, this means that even winning one Clash with the Revenge will probably prove lethal to our opponent.

Obviously the deck is going to be Green, because that’s where all the land-fetching happens. Since we’re looking to abuse Clash, we may as well try out Recross the Paths as a reusable land fetcher. Search for Tomorrow is another good card for this deck, because it has a higher casting cost than most land-fetchers (for Clash purposes), but still only effectively costs one.

4 Wall of Roots

4 Titan’s Revenge
4 Search for Tomorrow
4 Recross the Paths
4 Rampant Growth
4 Browbeat
4 Sulfurous Blast
4 Rift Bolt
3 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
2 Recollect

23 Lands

The land base should include Terramorphic Expanse for more deck-thinning, and Fungal Reaches to generate bigger Revenges. It’s very likely that four Titan’s Revenge is too much, but you can always burn one early on in the game, knowing that you will be drawing into another one later on. Since the Revenge is pretty much your only win condition, the Recollects are there just in case.

In terms of rares that could fit into this deck, Bogardan Hellkite ($9.00) is a good use for all that mana. So is Shivan Hellkite, for that manner, and at $2.50, he actually could make it into this deck. I might be persuaded to try three Shivan Hellkites in the place of the Acid-Mosses.

Closing the Bin

I hope you’ve enjoyed this exercise in deckbuilding. Creative, effective decks can be built using the resources that you have on hand already, be they commons and uncommons, or rares that you’ve opened from packs. The next time you feel that you or your decks might be getting stagnant, why not take a dig for some forgotten or unused cards, and see where your Johnny takes you?

Until next week!