Wild Madness: Trying Something New

Jay Schneider’s touting his new Wild Research/Plagiarization deck; now me, I’m not sure. Is it Tier One?

One of the things I explored when Torment’s spoiler was first available was the idea that Wild Research could both find, and be an activator for, Madness instants. I kicked around the idea with a few online friends, but they convinced me that the idea was too janky to really be worth the effort. For the record, here’s the decklist I put forth on Febuary 5th:

Wild Madness, v.0

4x Wild Research

4x Fact or Fiction

4x Circular Logic

4x Obsessive Search

4x Fiery Temper

2x Violent Eruption

4x Urza’s Rage

4x Fire/Ice

3x Repulse

1x Rushing River

1x Prophetic Bolt

1x Flaming Gambit

4x Shivan Reef

12x Island

8x Mountain

This never got past the idea phase, pretty much getting squashed before I ever playtested it.

Then along comes Jay Schneider on Brainburst. Jay seems to think that a Wild Research/Madness deck could be Tier 1, and I have to agree that his reasoning sounds good… And it justified my hunch, which was good for the ego. Here’s his build:

4 Aquamoeba

4 Psychatog

4 Compulsion

4 Wild Research

4 Obsessive Search

4 Circular Logic

4 Fiery Temper

4 Violent Eruption

3 Plagiarize

7 Mountain

5 Island

4 Shivan Reef

3 Urborg Volcano

3 Cephalid Coliseum

2 Salt Marsh

1 Darkwater Catacombs


4 Disrupt

3 Gainsay

4 Flametongue Kavu

4 Pyroclasm

I also had to agree that the deck he submits is unrefined, particularly his inclusion of Plagiarize. Now, I have no doubt that there will be some sick broken deck built to abuse Plagiarize (though I suspect it will become really good, once the best card drawing card around actually”draws” cards instead of putting them in hand like Fact or Fiction) – I just don’t think this is it.

Speaking of Fact or Fiction, I’ve got to go off on a tangent. We’ve gotten a few tantalizing tidbits from MagicTheGathering.com regarding the illustrious Ef-Oh-Ef. First, last week Randy Buehler lets on that there’s a Fact or Fiction”hoser” that will show up in Judgement. Then this week, Mark Rosewater lets on that a card called”Go Fish” in playtesting, inspired by the Legends card Nebuchadnezzar, would also show up in Judgement. For reference, here’s what Nebby does:

Nebuchadnezzar 3BU

Creature – Legend 3/3

{X},{Tap}: Name a card. Target opponent reveals X cards at random from his or her hand. That player then discards all of those cards that are the named card. Play this ability only during your turn.

The illustrious Brian Epstein on the Star City mailing list pointed out that Maro’s”Go Fish” card could very well be the”hoser” that Randy mentioned. If so, then I hope it’s been fixed to actually be decent. And an artifact, so that any deck could use it against Ef-Oh-Ef Heads. But somehow, I suspect that it’s going to be some narrow blue card that might see play in mirror match sideboards. Blah.

And don’t even let me get started on the timing of the hoser for this card. Available to us only for the last four months that Ef-Oh-Ef is Type 2 legal?

Anyway, back to Schneider’s deck. Splashing black simply for Psychatog, as good as Dr. Teeth is, I also question. So then I started thinking… The ultimate state that this deck seems to want to be in is having control of the board, a Wild Research in play, plenty of mana, and a nearly empty hand. This will let you Tutor up the madness card appropriate to whatever situation you’re in – either a Circular Logic or a burn spell. The limiting factor, of course, is the number of copies of those cards left in your deck.

Enter Anurid Scavenger. If you’re gonna splash for a creature, this seems much better in this kind of deck. A single green mana, 3/3 for three, and his”drawback” is actually a lock mechanism in this deck. His pro black may very well be”tech” in the new environment.

Merfolk Looter also seems to be a natural for the deck, functioning as backup to Compulsion, giving you more chances of dropping a turn 2 card draw/madness activator under a counterspell.

It also seems folly to not include Fire/Ice in any R/U build. The Ice side can start the”counterwar” on your opponent’s turn by tapping a critical blue mana, and the Fire side can kill off early beats.

Lastly, I cut back a bit on the Eruption, since it’s so red mana-intensive – I wanted to adjust the mana to increase the amount of blue, since obviously blue is what you want early on.

I like Aquamoeba, since he can block early Mongeese, but agree with Jay that we may only need three since it’s not exactly a power card. Late game, though he could be a monster, attacking for three and pitching a Temper or Eruption to the dome.

Here’s my new build:

Wild Madness

3 Aquamoeba

4 Merfolk Looter

4 Compulsion

4 Wild Research

4 Obsessive Search

4 Circular Logic

4 Fiery Temper

2 Violent Eruption

3 Anurid Scavenger

4 Fire/Ice

6 Mountain

7 Island

4 Shivan Reef

3 Shivan Oasis

1 Mossfire Valley

2 Cephalid Coliseum

1 Treva’s Ruins


4 Disrupt

4 Aether Burst

3 Hibernation

4 Sudden Impact

There was a small Type 2 tournament this past Saturday, and I ran this monster through four rounds of swiss and one match in the semi-finals. I beat a Machinehead deck and a B/g black control deck with Deeds and Mongers. I lost to Pyschatog, then got a bye and made it into the top 4. I lost to a Holistic Wisdom deck there, getting swept. Some observations and thoughts on the deck:

The Merfolk Looters are simply remarkable in this deck. They are a zero-mana madness activator that actually gets you something for pitching the madness spell, instead of uselessly pumping a Psychatog or Aquamoeba during your opponent’s turn. Four Looters should be mandatory in any Madness deck with blue. In fact, they made the Compulsions look downright anemic in comparison. If I were to look for cards to cut, I’d start with one or two Compulsions.

The Anurids were also fantastic. When they hit the board behind a Wild Research, if I had control, the opponent usually scooped once they realized what was going on. Anurids would typically dig back in a Circular Logic if you’d used one last turn, or dig in another Fiery Temper if you didn’t need the counter.

The deck sifting is pretty amazing. It achieves threshold pretty darn fast. In fact, I’ve been debating increasing the green mana available in order to work in some green threshold beatings, like Krosan Beast or Werebears.

The Aquamoebas got mixed reviews… Mainly because they died so handily to Rages and Psychatogs. If I’d faced any Mongeese at all, I’d probably have felt better about them.

The deck seems to handle aggro-control strategies, but struggles against pure control or pure beatdown.

In conclusion, I think the deck is fun and has some possibilities. But is it Tier 1? I don’t think so. Both my version and Jay’s have problems with hard-to-remove permanents that make it on the board, like Enchantments or large creatures like Spiritmonger. Even with tons of searching and sifting, four Circular Logics aren’t enough to ensure that a problem permanent won’t make it on the board.

So what do we do with the deck? I’m probably going to set it aside. I’m more interested in selecting a deck that has the best chance of getting me a Top 8 at Regionals. But if you want to noodle around with it, I’d recommend making the Wild Research”engine” a smaller feature of the deck and adding more general utility, probably in the form of bounce. Maybe blending in some features of the original deck. I’d also kicked around the idea of using Pitchstone Walls to fetch back cards discarded to Wild Research that you’d want back (though it does not interact with spells cast with Madness).

More madness spells in Judgement would also be a big boost, but I have a feeling that Madness will follow in the footsteps of Gating and Fading, being small mechanics that pop up in one expansion only. Maybe the future lies in the realm of Extended, where Wild Research gains the Accumulated Knowledge engine. Who knows?

But in the meantime, the search for a Regionals deck I’m comfortable with continues…