I’m moving a feature from my “Weapons of Mass Distraction” column to today’s installment of Tribal Thriftiness …
SMS Of The Week
“You’d be so thrilled. I’m 3-1 with Warp World!”
My friend Brian sent me this text message mid-Cruise-Qualifier last weekend. To be honest, I was thrilled — Warp World has been a pet deck of mine ever since Bennie Smith introduced me to it way back pre-Alara. As I mentioned last week, I’ve been playing an M10-Approved version at FNM lately with a smattering of success — but it’s also been getting some press in a number of other higher-profile places as well; ever since Chris Boomer hit a PTQ Top 8 with Warp World pre-M10, it’s kind of a sleeper hit among the Johnny crowd (who love to break the symmetry of supposedly-symmetrical cards like Warp World) and the budget crowd (who appreciate a deck without thirty-dollar enchantments or hundred-dollar manabases).
The problem is, no two Warp World decks look alike. It’s even possible that you might categorize Warp World decks into two types: ones that try to ramp up into a Warp World as fast as possible, gaining enough of an advantage to pull through the win; and ones that try and recur multiple Warp Worlds in one turn, to truly bury the opponent under the asymmetrical card advantage generated by the multiple resolutions of the powerful sorcery.
Even Brian and I have differences in our decks. There’s a third guy in Colorado Springs who also plays the deck, and his is totally different as well.
So how do you piece together what the “best” Warp World deck is?
I hope Adrian Sullivan doesn’t roll over in his proverbial grave, but I decided to take his amalgamation method (laid out in great articles here and here) and apply it to the Warp World deck. I took decklists from four places:
1. Chris Boomer’s original Warp World Revolution deck
2. Jacob Van Lunen M10-adjusted build from the mothership
3. My own decklist from two weeks ago
4. Five decklists taken from the discussion thread at MTG Salvation
Start At The Beginning
What really turned the conversation about Warp World from “fun FNM deck” to “possible PTQ choice” was Chris Boomer’s Top 8 finish in a PTQ in Illinois.
Chris Boomer’s Warp World Revolution…
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Siege-Gang Commander
- 4 Mulldrifter
- 4 Murderous Redcap
- 2 Nucklavee
- 4 Elvish Visionary
- 3 Keeper of Progenitus
- 1 Broodmate Dragon
- 1 Hellkite Overlord
Chris’s deck hits pretty much all the stops that earlier versions of this deck had: a bunch of permanent-based mana accelerants, a large number of creatures that either had enters-the-battlefield abilities or who made more guys, and the namesake eight-mana sorcery to shuffle everything up and remake the board.
At the time, I wrote it off as a good story to tell the grandkids, because it was back in May and we still had no idea what Magic 2010 was going to bring us. I definitely remember playing my own Warp World deck “one last time” at FNM because I couldn’t imagine, with the limited number of reprints available for each color, that this clunky sorcery would be one of the cards picked for inclusion in the set.
Conversation picked up from when Chris’s deck became public and went full-force. Did you know that the MTGSalvation discussion thread on this deck is over a thousand posts? It’s bigger than the Sanity Grinding discussion thread. Heck, it’s longer than the Kithkin and Five-Color Control threads. (Granted, they probably purge those on a more regular basis.)
But you get the point. Heck, my grandma made an account over there just to discuss it.
Well, and play Mafia. Whatever that is.
I pulled decklists from the following five users and I wanted to make sure I gave them recognition, as these decklists are the bulk of the mathematical basis: Sky Illusion, BoomChild, Aranthir, xaviae, and psymunn. I’ve tried to keep up with most of the thread, but dudes, a thousand posts.
So hopefully you guys can find some sort of takeaway from this, as something of a payment for using your decklists as arithmetical food for the wood chipper.
You know, metaphorically speaking.
I’m going to try and use Adrian’s amalgamation notation for the numbers, so bear with me, I’m probably going to confuse myself.
Land — CB / JVL / DM / SI / BC / A / X / P /// Average
Forest — 12 / 12 / 4 / 12 / 9 / 14 / 12 / 13 /// 11
Mountain — 9 / 9 / 6 / 9 / 8 / 9 / 7 / 9 /// 8.125
Other basic — 0 / 1 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 1 /// 0.75
Other non-basic — 0 / 0 / 11 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 1 / 0 /// 2
Total land — 21 / 22 / 23 / 21 / 21 / 23 / 22 / 22 /// 21.875
The first thing I noticed from looking at these decklists was that I was pretty much the only one using a large number of non-basic lands. Even though you could discount the absence of filter lands or Rootbound Crags in Jacob Van Lunen budget deck, it doesn’t account for the rest of the decklists which carry a total of five (FIVE!) non-basics between them, all Rootbound Crags. If you exempt out my decklist from the basic land calculations, you get:
Ramp — CB / JVL / DM / SI / BC / A / X / P /// Average
Fertile Ground — 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 3 / 4 / 0 / 4 /// 3.375
Trace of Abundance — 4 / 3 / 2 / 4 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 3 /// 3.375
Farhaven Elf — 0 / 4 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 4 / 4 / 4 /// 3.125
Birds of Paradise — 4 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 4 / 0 / 4 / 4 /// 2.5
Keeper of Progenitus — 3 / 3 / 0 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 /// 1.25
Total Ramp — 12 / 11 / 10 / 15 / 12 / 12 / 12 / 15 /// 13.625
Total Ramp plus Land — 33 / 33 / 33 / 36 / 33 / 35 / 34 / 37 /// 35.5
22 lands, 13 ramp spells, 35 total between the two. That sounds like a pretty good consensus. But what does the amalgamation say? It would appear to say that, instead of playing four of each of three of the choices, to play three of each of the choices and let the chips fall where they may. Is that practical? Well, it lessens the chances of you having multiple objects blown up by Maelstrom Pulse, I guess.
I find it interesting that Birds of Paradise are the most fractuous card in the bunch. Everything else gets included in most of the decks in varying numbers, but Birds is either in or out: it’s either four-of, or no-of. Again, this may be due to being cost-prohibitive (although M10 and Ravnica Birds are selling here for $9.99), and in all honesty I prefer using mana accelerants that don’t have a giant target on their heads. Chris Boomer’s original deck left out the Farhaven Elves in favor of the Birds.
Is Keeper of Progenitus worth it as a one-of? It’s nice when he impacts the game, but is probably only useful if you’re going to attempt to chain multiple Warps. To facilitate that on occasion, one is at least worth trying.
I pulled this out separately because I think it’s important. When you’re dealing with a deck that wants to put as many permanents into play as possible, you want to be able to refill your hand at various points in the game — either trying to draw into Warp World, or to refill your hand after one resolves.
Card-Draw — CB / JVL / DM / SI / BC / A / X / P /// Average
Mulldrifter — 4 / 4 / 0 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 0 /// 2.625
Elvish Visionary — 4 / 4 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 /// 1.375
Total Card-Drawing — 8 / 8 / 3 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 0 /// 4
Chris’s original deck run four of both Mulldrifter and Elvish Visionary, and really maxed out on the card-drawing. It looks, however, that later versions have slipped off of Elvish Visionary and headed into “just-Mulldrifter” territory. This makes a lot of sense. Your two-casting-cost slot is already filled up with mana acceleration, and you’d prefer to cast it on turn 2 in most cases. You’ll then have four mana on turn 3, letting you play another piece of acceleration and possibly Evoke Mulldrifter (or cast a Farhaven Elf). Elvish Visionary is in an awkward spot, as he only really becomes good when you have lands but no acceleration and he’s your only turn 2 play.
Running Mulldrifter as your sole card-drawing provider means that the basic land listed up in the mana section has to become an Island, so that any of your mana acceleration will allow you cast Mulldrifter the next turn.
The Namesake Sorcery
The Other Creatures
That leaves us with 17 slots. Here are the creatures that appeared in more than two decks:
Creatures — CB / JVL / DM / SI / BC / A / X / P /// Average
Siege-Gang Commander — 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 4 /// 4
Murderous Redcap — 4 / 4 / 0 / 3 / 3 / 4 / 2 / 4 /// 3
Bogardan Hellkite — 0 / 0 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 3 / 3 /// 2.25
Bloodbraid Elf — 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 2 / 4 / 4 / 2 /// 2
Broodmate Dragon — 1 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 /// 1.625
Nucklavee — 2 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 /// 0.875
Interesting, isn’t it, that there’s no discussion about Siege-Gang Commander either — he’s an auto-include at four for every deck in this exercise.
My build is missing Murderous Redcaps in favor of maindeck Kitchen Finks, which only one other deck included. It seems a better option to include the fourth Redcap in the maindeck and put the Kitchen Finks in the sideboard, than to squeeze in that 0.875 Kitchen Finks into the maindeck. Adding in the +1’s still leaves us with one slot.
Here are some of the interesting cards that turned up in only one of each of the decks.
Acidic Slime: Love it. Handles troublesome permanents like Honor of the Pure and Bitterblossom, and has a deathtouch body to boot. Highly unlikely that you’ll be forced to kill something of your own when you catch him in a Warp … but if you ARE forced to kill your own Fertile Ground, chances are that you are going to win this game anyway.
Caldera Hellion: It’s gaining some popularity thanks to its inclusion in the Conley Woods Special that placed two guys into U.S. Nationals Top 8, but it might be sideboard material. You can’t Devour off of the Warp World, which means he’s strictly a board-sweeper in the matchups where you need it — Kithkin.
Hey, that fulfilled my contractually-obligated “one Conley Woods mention per article.”
Cloudthresher: Cheaper to flash in than a Hellkite, but I’m not loving it as a singleton. I think I like the Hellion better.
Lurking Predators: You’ve got plenty of ways to trigger this, and you don’t hate having a ton of creatures in play, but a six-casting-cost enchantment won’t have much time to impact the board before your eight-casting-cost sorcery shuffles it away.
Woodfall Primus: Acidic Slime is cheaper but can’t kill Planeswalkers. Is that crucial? I’d like to think between Murderous Redcap, Hellkite, and attackers, I should be able to handle one Planeswalker without resorting to an 8cc guy.
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund: The only person I’ve seen use this guy was Brian. Okay, and Hugs, the other local guy playing Warp World. We “tested” the mirror match (read: played for grins) and got into more than one tussle over him catching Karrthus off a Warp World and grabbing multiple dragons from me. I really like this guy and need to find me one. The thought of stealing someone’s Chameleon Colossi is making me chortle.
Hellkite Overlord: He was the default “hasty attacker” in the pre-Reborn version of the deck; haste plus firebreathing plus a new set of mana was (hopefully) enough to position your opponent near his demise. He’s lost some luster now that you can play Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund and make your other dragons hasty as well.
Wort, the Raidmother: Warp World is great. Warp World with another waiting on the stack is ludicrous. Unfortunately, Wort always seems to have a bigger target on her head than Birds of Paradise. I might put one in the sideboard though. I used to run one Jasmine Boreal in my sideboard, even if I was playing mono-black. I thought she was cute. I ain’t sayin’ I think Wort is cute, mind you.
Madrush Cyclops: Why wait a turn to kill your opponent? Again, this is less relevant when you can package it all up into Karrthus — the dragons are your real offensive power anyway.
The Final Product
Final amalgamation scores are in, and this is our amalgamated deck to start testing with:
- 3 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Siege-Gang Commander
- 3 Bogardan Hellkite
- 4 Mulldrifter
- 3 Farhaven Elf
- 4 Murderous Redcap
- 1 Nucklavee
- 1 Keeper of Progenitus
- 2 Broodmate Dragon
- 1 Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
- 2 Bloodbraid Elf
Rare Cost Summary:
Birds of Paradise ($9.99 x 3 = $29.97)
Keeper of Progenitus ($0.59 x 1 = $0.59)
Warp World ($0.99 x 4 = $3.96)
Siege-Gang Commander ($5.99 x 4 = $23.96)
Bogardan Hellkite ($4.99 x 3 = $14.97)
Broodmate Dragon ($4.99 x 2 = $9.98)
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund ($1.99 x 1 = $1.99)
Birds appear to be the priciest rare, and you can substitute the fourth of the other mana accelerants to take care of that. Siege-Gang Commander is a must-include, and I’m happy that they’re priced fairly reasonably.
Next week: I will be talking about this deck again, because the sideboard needs some serious work. Put your suggestions in the forums.
Until next week…
dave dot massive at gmail and davemassive at facebook and twitter