Way back when Mirrodin was still just Bacon, I was in rapture over Stompy Stomp. I had some good decks, and some laughs, but once the set actually came out, and the name changed to Tooth and Nail, I never got around to using it. It was always on my”decks to build” list, but nothing more. Then Kevin started beating on me with a Stompy Stomp deck last week, and I decided it was time to give it another try.
In Type Two, no less. It is way too easy to do this in casual. The amazing thing is that the deck actually seems to work.
Tooth and Nail is, in some respects, the new version of Natural Order, the cards that powered Secret Force back in Wakefield’s day. It allows you to search for a fattie and put that fattie directly into play. It isn’t exactly a retread, however. For one thing, it can allow you to search for two creatures, and put two different creatures from your hand into play. Natural Order was a useless when you had drawn the fattie already – Tooth and Nail solves that problem.
On the down side, Tooth and Nail costs a whopping seven mana – nine if entwined. That is a huge amount. The advantage of Natural Order in Secret Force was that it could get a Verdant Force into play for less mana than it cost to cast the Force. No such bargain with Tooth and Nail in Mirrodin T2: there weren’t any creatures costing more than seven mana that you would actually want to play. It wasn’t much of a bargain to cast Tooth and Nail for Platinum Angel and what – Plated Slagwurm? Krosan Cloudscraper? No thanks.
Darksteel has some other options. Darksteel Colossus costs eleven mana – meaning that Tooth and Nail would be a bargain if it got just one into play – and Colossus is worth getting into play. Getting two into play, or a second,”Toolbox” type of creature to be the Colossus’ sidekick, is just gravy.
So is staying alive until you can cast Tooth and Nail. But it can be done. It’s a combination of mana acceleration and sweeping the board.
A lot of mana acceleration is necessary to make this deck work, which means both Cloudposts and the Urzatron. Making that work requires four each of Sylvan Scrying and Reap and Sow. Those two cards mean that the deck is going to run Forests, although there is just enough room for a splash of a complimentary color. Getting the Green mana, given the number of non-basics, calls for a forest cycler. Elvish Aberration fits the bill. It gets Forests, has a single Green in the casting cost, and produces lots of Green mana when in play. If you can cast it one turn, you can cast Tooth and Nail, with entwine the next. When necessary, the Aberration can also block or beat, but at 5/4, it’s about the smallest creature in the deck.
The mana acceleration really works. I have often been able to hard cast Darksteel Colossus on turn 5, and turn 4 is not impossible. You need to practice with the deck a bit, but a typical opening hand will have a land fetcher and either a Cloudpost or parts of the Urzatron. It’s pretty obvious which parts you will need.
I will build both a Red and White version of the deck. Unfortunately, since the deck relies on fetchlands and talismans for the secondary color, Blue/Green or Black/Green versions of this deck just don’t work, so just G/W and R/G.
Some of the staying alive depends on color specific cards, but depends more on the four Oblivion Stones. This deck generates the mana to use the O-Stones fairly quickly, and can stop a weenie rush with them alone. The Stones are solid against Affinity and Goblins, provided they don’t have Patriarch’s Bidding in hand. With the full Urzatron, you can play and use the Stone in one turn, and the Stones work very well at clearing the blockers out of the way of an attacking Colossus.
Some of the main deck creatures – the Tooth and Nail targets – are standard in each build. Darksteel Colossus is a real pain for most decks to deal with.* Platinum Angel is a great way to avoid dying, and would be perfect if the deck had room for Lightning Greaves to protect it from harm. Duplicant is an answer to a lot of problems, including the mirror match (stop snickering.) Clockwork Dragon is a serious threat in a deck that can often generate a dozen mana or more in the early mid-game, and can potentially be cast turn 3. Finally, Viridian Shaman is necessary, although Nantuko Vigilante can kill Worship and the like. (Viridian Zealot is great in other decks, but the two Tooth and Nail decks don’t generate enough Green mana to make him reliable.)
Glissa Sunseeker has also found her way into the deck at times. She’s great in some matches, but can be so vulnerable as to be useless in others. She may be sideboard material.
By splashing Red, the deck gets two additional cards, Pyroclasm and Fireball. Pyroclasm is the answer to so many weenie decks it’s not funny. Fireball is an alternative win condition. The deck frequently builds mana, then clears the board with Oblivion Stones and builds more mana. I have often ended the game with a Fireball for twenty. Detonate could also appear in the mix, but I’m not sure when that would be better than the alternatives. Finally, splashing Red allows you to play Bosh, who has a great time throwing Darksteel Colossi around. The final slot has been Rorix (haste is good), a second Duplicant, a second Colossus and Glissa. Sculpting Steel is also worth a thought, although you cannot fetch it with Tooth and Nail.
Here’s the current build:
3 Elvish Aberration
1 Bosh, Iron Golem
1 Clockwork Dragon
1 Viridian Shaman / Nantuko Vigilante
1 Darksteel Colossus
4 Urza’s Tower
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
3 Wooded Foothills
The need for an early Pyroclasm leads me to play two Mountains, plus fetchlands and Talismans. That, plus the Sylvan Scryings, provides thirteen ways to have Red mana on turn 3. I don’t have anything close to a set sideboard at present, but it will probably have some mix of additional Duplicants, Pyroclasm, Naturalize, Oxidize, Glissa, Silklash Spider, Stabilizer, Detonate (kills Skullclamps and artifact lands), Defense Grid and possibly more Platinum Angels. While many decks can kill one, killing two is more of a problem.
Damping Matrix is another option – decks like Bad Card Affinity are completely hosed by that card. My deck is not much hurt by it. The one real downside would be that the Talismans lose their mana production, which could create some color screw problems. Beyond that, Bosh still beats, the Aberrations still beat and cycle, and only Clockwork Dragon really gets significantly worse. However, against Skullclamp / Arcbound Ravager decks, that tradeoff may be both necessary and worthwhile. The Matrix can shut down Dwarven Blastminers that may be sided against this deck. It could also come in against Goblins and White Weenie, and against the lesser decks people may try: Clerics, Elves, G/B Cemetery, etc. However, beating these decks often required clearing the board with Oblivion Stone, and Damping Matrix shuts that down.
Kevin’s build ran White, and my build follows his quite closely. The main cards that a White build gets should be obvious – what White card would you want in a deck that generates a lot of mana? Decree of Justice. Besides Decree of Justice, white also gives you Akroma, Angel of Vengeance, and not much else. On the other hand, you really don’t need much else.
G/W Stomp (a.k.a. What Did Jesus Do?)
4 Talisman of Unity
4 Oblivion Stone
4 Decree of Justice
4 Tooth and Nail
4 Reap and Sow
4 Sylvan Scrying
3 Elvish Aberration
1 Platinum Angel
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Clockwork Dragon
1 Viridian Shaman
2 Darksteel Colossus
1 Glissa Sunseeker / Nantuko Vigilante
Note that this deck does not really need Eternal Dragon. It is not all that big, compared to what else this deck can produce. More importantly, this deck does not generate enough White mana to reliably get the dragon back – and certainly not enough to return and cast it in a single turn. Once you have cycled for the single Plains, you have done all the thinning possible.
One card that can really lock the game is Pariah or Worship, together with a Darksteel Colossus. The only reason not to use it is that the deck usually wins the turn after Tooth and Nail or Colossus gets cast. However, like Lightning Greaves, it is so close to being usable that I wish I could find room for a couple copies – but you need a couple copies because you cannot tutor for it.
The sideboard in the G/W version is not defined, except for the first four slots. Those go to Sacred Ground. These two decks both really hate land destruction decks, but only the White version has an effective answer. If land destruction looks to be a significant part of your metagame, think about that. The deck can be slightly inconsistent even without land destruction adding to your headaches.
On the flip side, the decks – either one – are a blast to play. Provided Goblins don’t run you down, you are casting the biggest spells in the game, and doing it early enough to matter. The decks have a lot of cool tricks – and many don’t rely on Tooth and Nail at all. For example: Turn 1 Mine, turn 2 Power Plant, Talisman, Turn 3 Tower, Reap and Sow for another Tower, Clockwork Dragon. Turn 4, Mine, beat for eleven.
Some quick matchup advice, but I don’t have meaningful stats:
Goblins / Bidding:
Draw dependent. Oblivion Stones, then pull the Colossi and crush them. Pyroclasm helps, but you really want to kill the Skullclamp. Platinum Angel is okay game one, but not if they have the Sharpshooter / sac guys going, and expect artifact kill game two, especially if they saw the Clockwork Dragon game one. Akroma is still Akroma. Decree of Justice is useless against the Sharpshooters, so they come out for CoPs in the white version, Pyroclasm in the red. Worship / Colossus or Pariah / Colossus is a lock, unless they have Stones of their own. This matchup is iffy – whoever has a bad draw loses – and Goblins is a lot more consistent.
It’s a fast deck with Skullclamp against Oblivion Stone. The worst problem is Disciple of the Vault – if they have one in play when you Stone, you are losing a bunch more life. If they don’t have Shrapnel Blasts, Platinum Angel can pull you out – if they do, get 2 Colossi and smash them. Just watch out for big Ornithopters. Play 4 Oxidize in the sideboard.
I find seeing an opponent play a turn one Disciple is a lot like seeing a turn one Ramosian Sergeant was.
You have to play around the counters, but these decks are slower and more vulnerable. Duplicant can remove the first Broodstar – but it dies immediately. Aether Spellbomb is not that bad a problem – with this deck, if they bounce your Colossus, just recast it. Oxidize from the sideboard helps a lot.
Their creatures are threats, but yours are better. It comes down to Oblivion Stones and luck. Akroma’s Vengeance is mainly a problem because it kills your Talismans, so color screw happens.
They aren’t as fast as Goblins, but are just as vulnerable to Oblivion Stone. Moreover, they have few answers to Platinum Angel. If they get a great draw, and a fast Skullclamp, and you draw junk, they can win, but it’s not too bad. Like all the other decks – if they get Skullclamp working, you have problems. A turn one Skullclamp can mean that they outdraw you be a half dozen cards by the time you can blow a Stone. That’s hard to get around, although Platinum Dragon can let you pull it out.
Oblivion Stone kills the Cemetery and everything else, and Cemetery decks are somewhat slow and controlling. Your main problems are mana screw and bad luck – or getting your hand stripped with a series of Ravenous Rats.
A final word of warning about my decks: I play, for the most part, casually. I don’t play online. That means that, although I do try to test these decks a lot, we are more likely to pull out our new creations each session that play a full series of games against the established metagame. I have played these against the main metagame decks, but have also”wasted” time playing them against Proteus Staff/Colossus, aggro-Zombies, Pink Power, Contested Cliffs, and a host of other strange and wonderful decks. I also”wasted” some time redesigning this deck to imprint Stompy Stomp on Panoptic Mirror, then”reuse” cards like Duplicant and Sundering Titan with Tel-Jilad Stylus. Yes, that’s cool when it works, and no, it doesn’t work often enough to be even vaguely competitive.
That said, these decks seem to have a shot against everything but land destruction, though Skullclamp is also bad. The more I play them, the more I find that they are a bit too luck dependent. So many of the tier one decks (Goblin Bidding, aggro Affinity, etc.) really punish bad draws, but when these decks work, they win with style. If you want to have fun at Regionals, try one.
The decks are not going to redefine the metagame, but they should make people think. Can your deck handle a pair of Darksteel Colossi appearing turn 5?
* Playable options include Domineer and other Control Magic effects, bounce, counterspells, Grab the Reins, Arrest, Icy Manipulator, Duplicant, and, in decks like mine at least, Detonate. Detonate doesn’t kill the Colossus, but it does eleven damage to the owner, which is often lethal. Sculpting Steel is also kinda neat – it’s like those annoying hotel commercials where the smart a$$ brags about how little his room cost.”Yeah, I only spent three for my Colossus.”