Tribal Thriftiness #37 – Warped

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Wednesday, August 20th – When was the last time you could have a gross amount of fun playing a tournament-quality deck that relies on a sorcery that costs a brazillion mana, but leaves you with more creatures and your opponent with little to no chance of recovering? Okay, which of you smart-alecks said “with Tooth and Nail in Mirrodin block?” Dave never got into Tooth and Nail, but he is enjoying Warp World – and you can too!

After going 3-3 at Grand Prix: Denver, I dropped out to play in side events and continue my fun. I think, at the point where you’re middle-of-the-pack and probably not making Day 2, you should at least try to maximize your fun, right?

I had built a Standard deck because I had been thinking about the side tournament where the top prize was a Wii. Now, I already have a Wii, but my good friend and Hetero Life Partner John has recently moved to California, and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to still play video games together. I have a Wii. He has an Xbox360. So either I’m going to buy an Xbox, or he’s going to buy a Wii. I figured, if I dropped out of the main event early enough, I wanted to have a deck ready to try and win a Wii for the HLP.

(John is certainly the Jay to my not-so-Silent Bob, and is the sole reason I have a Wii to begin with. When they first came out and were impossible to find, I was still living in Germany, and there was no possibility of picking one up on the base – where they didn’t even know what a Wii was, much less when they were coming in. John, however, had gone back to Seattle to visit family, and spent one morning in the freezing snow waiting in a line to pick up my Wii. That right there, that’s friendship. The kind that deserves reciprocal Wii-fetching.)

BUT! On the flip side, I knew that if I was going to play in a tournament for a Wii, that I would still have to have fun doing it. And for me, there is a certain degree of … enjoyability … to winning a match in an unusual or unexpected way. I realize it’s a Johnny trait, but seeing as I am a Johnny (at least mostly), I figure that’s probably okay. Imagining that most of the participants in this tournament were going to be OTHER people who had dropped out of the GP, I figured I would probably avoid lots of the top decks and the good players, which opened up the door to playing something really out there. I was ready to rebuild my Dragonstorm deck until I remembered Bennie Smith article on Warp World.

Rare Cost Summary:
Bogardan Hellkite ($9.00 x 3 = $27.00)
Furystoke Giant ($2.50 x 1 = $2.50)
Magus of the Moon ($10.00 x 2 = $20.00)

Masked Admirers ($2.50 x 4 = $10.00)
Siege-Gang Commander ($9.00 x 4 = $36.00)
Wort, the Raidmother ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)
Fire-Lit Thicket ($12.50 x 4 = $50.00)
Grove of the Burnwillows ($5.00 x 4 = $20.00)
Reflecting Pool ($22.50 x = $22.50)
Kher Keep ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)

I had read Bennie’s article, and the associated Adrian Sullivan article, and was intrigued by the decklist. On the other hand, I had no idea what the deck was trying to do. I mean, I understood that it would make a bunch of permanents, and then cast Warp World and put you into an even better situation and your opponent into an even worse situation. But beyond that, I didn’t have any idea of the strategy behind it. But hey, if it’s good enough for Bennie to consider for the Richie Proffitt tournament, then it’s definitely good enough for me.

So the night before the GP, I cobbled together what I could of Bennie’s decklist. Hrm. No Magus of the Moons. (Magi of the Moons?) I’ll just replace those with two more Avalanche Riders, since the primary function of the Magi is to shut off your opponent’s path back into the game after Warp World. Still no Reflecting Pools, although I can’t imagine one stinkin’ land would make that gripping of a difference – I could just run a Karplusan Forest there and it would still make Red and Green mana, right? Who the heck has four Grove of the Burnwillows? More Karplusan Forests it is. I ended up with something that approximated Bennie’s list, although by no means actually matched it. I was content though, and was ready to play for a Wii.

You know, should the need arise.


(That’s my fast-forward shorthand.)

They announce the Wii tournament. I’m 3-1 at this time, but I still contemplate dropping out … until I hear the announcement again and really process it: “The Shadowmoor Sealed Deck Tournament for a Wii will be starting in twenty minutes.”

Did he say, Sealed Deck?

Staying in, then, I guess. That was easy.


I trade for a couple of Magus of the Moons to go into the deck, seeing as how I’ll play it at FNM and that seems to the glaringly obvious card that I am missing. On the surface, I hate to trade for cards that are going to rotate out of Standard in two months, but I have a feeling that Magus of the Moon is one of those cards that will hold its value across numerous formats. In they go, replacing the two extra Avalanche Riders that I had stuck in.


(Oh come on, it’s fun, especially if you mentally add the standard movie ‘fast-forward noise’ in your head.)

After dropping out, I head over to the side events and see what’s available. It’s always fun to draft at the end of a tournament, but they’re also running side Standard events – 8 man, single-elimination, with a box as the prize. Maybe the deckbuilding will not go unrewarded after all? I put my name on the list. It is number two on the first Standard tournament sign-up sheet, which is NOT a good sign, so I sign up to draft as well, figuring if I hit one or the other, I’m a happy Dave. My draft gets called, and then midway through pack 3, the Standard tournament gets called to begin as well. Doh! Well, too much Magic > not enough Magic. I let them know I’m coming, finish my draft, concede to the young man I was going to get beat by anyway, and head over to Warp some Worlds.

Round 1 versus Seth playing Base-White Control

Initially I think that control matchups are bad for this deck. Then, while really thinking about it, I realize he has no way to stop Warp World other than by limiting the actual permanents I have in play. This brings up an important note I will need to learn at some point – is it worth it to cast Warp World when you are only Warping, say, 10 permanents? Does it depend on your opponent’s board? Or is it always worth it, just because you’ll still generally come out ahead?

Game 1: I really want to say Seth’s deck is Black/White, but primarily White – I don’t remember seeing any Black cards during our first game, but he did have a Murderous Redcap late in game 2. He starts out playing the standard control game – making trades where necessary, letting me overextend into Wrath, playing out Sacred Mesa to start making win conditions. Unfortunately for Seth, I have not one but two Bogardan Hellkites waiting to come into play during his Pegasus attack, and they make nice dents in what’s remaining of his life total.

I side in Firespouts to kill off Pegasus tokens, but I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to actually cast Warp World that game. I guess it’s like Adrian said: The deck doesn’t need Warp World to win, but when it comes, it’s lights-out.

Game 2: We both start out with early creatures; I start out with Walls while Seth chains through not one, not two, but three Martyrs of Sand, putting himself at a healthy 42 life, at which point he plays Beacon of Immortality to jump up to 84. He also finds a Sacred Mesa and begins churning out enough Pegasi to not only stop any damage coming in, but also to start mounting an offense. I imagine he is content to leave my board the way it is, but I continue to churn out Kobold tokens just to get the numbers up. I have a Warp World in hand, but I’m holding it, because I’m sure that Seth has the Wrath in hand, so I’m holding back a Siege-Gang and Wort to play post-Wrath. Seth keeps making Pegasi and holding up mana, so once I get to fourteen mana, I decide he actually must not have the Wrath and just go for it.

Play Wort.

Play Warp World, with Conspire.

Thanks to Kher Keep and Wort’s own tokens, I have 33 permanents. Seth has 17. Seth’s also never actually seen Warp World, so he quickly reads the card and curses his poor decision to not Wrath, which he did have in hand. I figure that the very least I need to do is get him to a point where he doesn’t have enough resources to Wrath next turn, and whittle him down at least a little bit so I can get him in one or two attacks. (From 84 life!) And finally I too get to see what Warp World actually does when it resolves: I get a little card-drawing, a little land-destruction (pointed at basic lands), a little creature removal, and some more tokens thanks to a Siege-Gang. I use all my fresh mana to shoot Seth a few times before we move on to Warp World #2.

Resolve Conspired Warp.

I have 33 permanents. Seth has 10. Seth manages to flip only one creature (and some lands); I get doubles of most of the creatures still left in my deck, and draw into another Warp World through Masked Admirers. And hey, look, there’s Wort again! I kill his creature thanks to the Hellkites (and knock him down a little further), and go ahead and Warp World with Conspire again.

Resolve Warp #3.

I have 37 permanents. Seth has 7. I am trying to remain vigilant about destroying basic lands because I figure I will end up with a Magus in play on the final Warp, which will stick him with little-to-no way to cast Wrath. Seth’s flip is four lands, two creatures, which isn’t a bad ratio for his deck so far. Unfortunately I kill his creatures (with his last Martyr of Sand gaining him nine life in the process) and his remaining Plains, and fling all my Siege-Gang tokens at his head.

Resolve Warp #4.

I have 31 permanents. Seth has 3. His flip is one land, one creature, that creature being the aforementioned Murderous Redcap. (Well, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition.) Seth has seen enough of my Wort shenanigans and Caps her, and I destroy his land and leave him with a 1/1 Redcap. Seth is at a high life total still, but with literally no defenses and no lands, and 18 creatures on my side of the board, he picks it up.

He laments after the fact that he should have gone ahead and Wrathed, but that he was holding back mana for Dawn Charm, which he sided in because he wasn’t sure if Warp World targeted or not.

Round 2 versus Randy playing Doran

Game 1: I try and make a game of it, playing out early defense and building up my creatures, but eventually I have to block as I’m waiting for mana number 8 to show up. I have both Hellkite and Warp World in hand. Randy kept me off eight mana by Inverting a Wall of Roots early on in the game to get in some extra damage; little did he know that that decision probably won him the whole game, as with eight mana I could have Flashed in a Hellkite to trade 2-for-1 with his creatures, and then Warped the next turn. Profane Command eventually served the death blow.

As all of the players remaining in the tournament were Colorado Springs players, and everyone was hungry and wanting Mongolian BBQ from BD’s in downtown Denver, the three remaining players decided to split the prize box. A nice turnaround for my entry fee: 12 packs! Acceptable. Warp World can run with me any time.

Warp World: Budget?

As you can see from Bennie’s list, there are certainly a fair number of rares in the deck, but in my estimation, they’re there simply because they’re the most effective at their role in the deck, not because they’re rare. That being said, I believe that all of these roles can be filled by non-rare cards, thus cutting back on the cost of the deck while still maintaining its ultimate functionality.

Direct damage: Siege-Gang Commander and Bogardan Hellkite are the main source of direct damage in the deck, and are useful off of a Warp World to start the damage – or potentially kill your opponent outright. Some replacement choices: Murderous Redcap certainly works well at direct damage or at removing creatures on the other side of the board; Noggle Hedge-Mage can be a direct-damage source, but you’d need to adjust the land base to include more basic Mountains. On the creature removal side, Firemaw Kavu or Stalking Yeti are options.

Token generation: Siege-Gang Commander not only brings the pain, but he also brings along three buddies, which is important when you’re Warping. Mogg War Marshal seems to be the easy replacement, but for sheer numbers, you can also consider Guardian of Cloverdell, who can potentially gain you more life if you’re deep in the trenches.

Card-drawing: Eventide gave us a great uncommon, Wistful Selkie, to stand in for Masked Admirers.

Land destruction / retardation: As in the case above, I do believe that it’s necessary to keep an eye on what your opponent will be able to cast post-Warp. The Magi can be a real deterrent in this case, but are top-of-the-price-chart for creatures in this deck. I think you can increase the number of Avalanche Riders to make up for his loss; there’s also Faultgrinder, which you’d probably never cast, but a 4/4 trampler on the other side of Warp World is a nice thing to have.

The other half of the cost is the land base, which is dependent on Red- and Green-producing lands, with the Green outweighing the Red due to the need for early green for Wall of Roots and Farhaven Elf. Without Magus, you can run a full set of Fungal Reaches to help push you towards that magical eight-mana mark, and then fill in with whatever appropriate-color double-lands you have.

Rare Cost Summary:
Wort, the Raidmother ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)
Kher Keep ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)

Warp World: Variants?

A few ideas set upon me while I was looking at uncommons and commons to put into the deck.

The first was, “if I’m looking for something to act as creature removal during a Warp, why am I not looking at Black?” Cards like Shriekmaw and Nekrataal are in the format. I guess the flip side is, if you’re Warping and your opponent turns over no creatures, you’re stuck killing one of your own guys. But it’s still not a bad tradeoff. It seems like you’d want to swap Green for Black – Phyrexian Rager takes the place of Masked Admirers, and I’d be willing to trade the early defense of Wall of Roots for the discard of Ravenous Rats.

Rare Cost Summary:
Wort, the Raidmother ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)
Kher Keep ($1.00 x 1 = $1.00)

The second was that you could probably fit in Skred if you wanted to, with the appropriate snow-covered lands. I don’t know what that gives you, though, that you don’t already really have. Probably more amenable in the BR version.

The Room Is Still Spinning

Ultimately the Warp World deck is a fun rogue deck that’s done well on a larger stage, which practically guarantees that I’ll like it. I look forward to regaling you with more Warp World stories in the future!

Until next week!