Tag: mtg (page 3 of 3)

Walking Synergy

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

I need to stop taking such long pauses between Friday Night Magic bouts. I mean, I can’t help it with the family reunion coming up next week, but if I’m not careful, some of my best cards will rotate out with the advent of Return to Ravnica in October! And we certainly can’t have that.

On a related note, my favorite planeswalker has thus far been underused. This may be because he can have some difficulties defending himself, and he seems to walk a line between control and aggression that can make him hard to place. But two of the colors towards which I lean most strongly are represented in him, and considering the raw deal he got at the hands of that amateur novelist Robert Wintermute, I really want to get him out there before the Scars of Mirrodin block becomes a Modern relic.

I speak, of course, of [mtg_card]Venser, the Sojourner[/mtg_card].

Let’s ignore his ultimate ability for now (even if it is highly kickass). It was the -1 ability that caught my eye and got me thinking. You see, until recently, I was working on a deck that was mostly about building card advantage and used creatures that took advantage of that, such as [mtg_card]Sturmgeist[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Psychosis Crawler[/mtg_card]. It tested all right but I felt there was something missing. It took a little too long to get going without proper control or means to defend itself, and single beefy creatures are also big fat targets to matter how exalted they become (thanks for bringing that back, M13).

But lots of creatures, suddenly unblockable? Now there’s a game-winning notion. But how to generate enough creatures to be a legitimate threat?

Oh, hello there, Vengeance at Dawn, I didn’t see you standing there.

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

Seriously, the amount of synergy that exists between these three planeswalkers is astounding. Both Elspeth and Sorin create creatures, which Venser then makes unblockable. Ah, but how to make sure Venser does not get owned, outside of using the tokens the other two generate? Enter [mtg_card]Blade Splicer[/mtg_card]. She generates a token every time she enters the battlefield, and a pretty beefy one at that. Combined with [mtg_card]Intangible Virtue[/mtg_card] you’re talking some serious bodyguards. I played around with a couple configurations before reminding myself that you can’t just throw every card you like into a deck and see if it works.

Much like in writing, I had to kill my darlings. So out came [mtg_card]Consecrated Sphinx[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Captain of the Watch[/mtg_card]. Instead, [mtg_card]Champion of the Parish[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Silverblade Paladin[/mtg_card] provide some great power-for-cost ratios. There aren’t as many humans in the deck as there were when I ran [mtg_card]Gather the Townsfolk[/mtg_card] but both the Champions and my planeswalkers will benefit from [mtg_card]Tezzeret’s Gambit[/mtg_card]. The Paladins are also good blink targets for Venser, as I can always re-pair them if the non-Paladin of the pair is destroyed for some reason. The means to make creatures exalted and the pair of Swords I have round out this deck.

[mtg_deck title=”WUB Planeswalker Shenanigans”]
Creatures
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Blade Splicer
2 Champion of the Parish
2 Silverblade Paladin
1 Sublime Archangel

Spells
4 Lingering Souls
4 Intangible Virtue
3 Tezzeret’s Gambit
3 Oblivion Ring
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of War and Peace

Planeswalkers
2 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
2 Elspeth Tirel
2 Venser, the Sojourner

Lands
6 Plains
4 Island
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Isolated Chapel
2 Vault of the Archangel
2 Moorland Haunt
2 Cathedral of War
2 Swamp

Sideboard
3 Revoke Existence
3 Celestial Purge
3 War Priest of Thune
2 Terminus
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Devastation Tide
[/mtg_deck]

I know it’s technically an Esper deck with its color combinations, but the WUB joke was just too good to resist. Besides, it’s predominantly white and blue now outweighs black, so the order makes sense.

I’ve tested this deck so far with Deck Stats and opening hands are promising. I need to get my hands on the Blade Splicers to make it a reality, and I have time for that to happen before the October deadline.

Come on, guys. Let’s get some wins happening!

Commander 2012

Courtesy Wizards of the Coast

Playing the Commander/EDH format of Magic: the Gathering is always interesting, to me. It’s also somewhat frustrating whenever I run into one of those infinite mana combos, but that’s a personal preference sort of thing. I mean, I used to run a deck built around [mtg_card]Arcanis, the Omnipotent[/mtg_card] combined with [mtg_card]Mind over Matter[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Psychosis Crawler[/mtg_card] so I know the smug satisfaction that can come with getting the combo going, but it’s simply not worth the wrath of my fellow players. I play to have fun. While winning is nice, I can count a loss as a good game if I enjoyed myself, felt truly challenged, or both.

To that end I’ve been re-examining my decks and working on some new ones. To keep things a bit more organized I’ve taken to naming them similar to the planetary names in Homestuck. …Yeah, I’m that much of a nerd.

Jaya’s Deck of Mountains and Flame

Not wanting to be excluded from future fun when my family goes for mono-colored decks, I decided to play against type a bit. I tend to lean towards decks that exert control of the game in some way, shape, or form, rather than going for the jugular in terms of direct damage. As much as I don’t usually play this way, though, I can see Jaya’s deck being a great deal of fun.

[mtg_card]Jaya Ballard, Task Mage[/mtg_card] has a ton of great abilities on her, and pairing her with something like [mtg_card]Magebane Armor[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Darksteel Plate[/mtg_card] means she won’t be accidentally removing herself. [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] combined with [mtg_card]Koth of the Hammer[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Doubling Cube[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Mana Flare[/mtg_card] will provide plenty of fuel for things like [mtg_card]Comet Storm[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Banefire[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Disintegrate[/mtg_card]. I’m looking forward to trying this one out.

Sharuum’s Deck of Machines and Cunning

Little has changed with this deck, but it’s been a while since I’ve played it. Sadly, I’ve decided to bench [mtg_card]Zedruu the Greathearted[/mtg_card]. The deck she commands is simply too slow and passive. There also isn’t much in it I can give away to take advantage of her abilities. I may revisit it later, but I’ll feel more confident having a reliable standby ready. [mtg_card]Sharuum the Hegemon[/mtg_card] is always interesting and fun to play, and while she too can be a bit on the slow-to-start side, it only takes her a couple turns to stabilize and start cranking out Myrs, damage, and extra turns. I’ve considered adding a [mtg_card]Lux Cannon[/mtg_card] to her arsenal, as it’s another artifact that can take advantage of the [mtg_card]Bloodletter Quill[/mtg_card]/[mtg_card]Power Conduit[/mtg_card] combo.

Karthus’ Deck of Jaws and Marshes

This deck is getting some mana acceleration. Considering things like [mtg_card]Dragonstorm[/mtg_card], the Tyrant of Jund needs all the mana he can get. It’s given me cause to pick up my first [mtg_card]Primeval Titan[/mtg_card] along with [mtg_card]Mana Reflection[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Rites of Flourishing[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Mana Flare[/mtg_card]. I’m hoping this will speed the deck up significantly and make it a heavy hitter instead of a Johnny-come-lately to large multiplayer games.

Sedris’ Deck of Blood and Knowledge

This deck will be getting a major re-tooling in the months to come. As I move away from a vampire tribal deck in Standard, it occurs to me there’s plenty for the bloodsucking fiends in previous sets. I also feel that blue and black together can lend the deck to some pretty significant card advantage if constructed right. To that end, [mtg_card]Sedris, the Traitor King[/mtg_card] will no longer be commander of a legion of zombies, but instead shall be working with the likes of [mtg_card]Olivia Voldaren[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet[/mtg_card], the [mtg_card]Malakir Bloodwitch[/mtg_card], and of course [mtg_card]Sorin Markov[/mtg_card].

Ghave’s Deck of Forests and Legions

Speaking of Sorin, my main Standard deck is likely to become a token-based affair (more on that next week). At some point, though, it will on longer be viable for one reason or another, and I will have [mtg_card]Sorin, Lord of Innistrad[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Elspeth Tirel[/mtg_card], and various other cards of token generation looking for a home. It will be time at last for [mtg_card]Ghave, Guru of Spores[/mtg_card] to come back from retirement. Some additional tutors and counter management may be required to make the most of the deck, but I still think it’ll be a bit more potent than previously once those resources are freed up.

Jhoira’s Deck of Wands and Clockwork

I’d love to pontificate on this upcoming deck, as mucking about with time may just be my favorite thing to consider in any form of magic, but my future self came back in time to tell me it’ll be a few months before it really starts to come together, and I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

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