A Magic: the Gathering blog by and for the janky combo casual players alienated in a world of netdecking millionaires.

I value inexpensive (kinda) decks outside of the meta because I am cheap and easily bored.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Magic: the Mathering - The Genesis Deck

I was all set to write you up a report on the Modern Pauper tournament I was in yesterday but having played the games I am distinctly uninspired.

Part of it is that I went 2-2 as usual and didn't accomplish much of note, part of it is the fact I was running infect which doesn't lead to epic battles of strategy; it either wins in 2-6 turns or it loses and perhaps the most important part is that the fact that modern pauper, as opposed to legacy pauper, isn't really that much fun. 

Standard pauper is fine because the meta is quite varied. Legacy pauper is great, because back in the day Magic designers didn't think it through properly. But modern pauper just feels like shit tier legacy pauper however I slice it. The deck loses Rancor and Lotus Petal, I had to play extra land and Predator's strike as my only source of trample. A massive power drop and the source of one of my match losses. 

I have a good modern infect deck and an improved version of the Phil Collins Deck for legacy pauper (the Phil Collins now has Groundswell and a full set of Vines of Vastwood.) So I looked around and cobbled together this version for modern.

The Genesis Deck  

Instant (27)

4x Apostle's Blessing
4x Predators Strike
4x Groundswell
4x Rangers Guile
3x Mutagenic Growth
4x Giant Growth
4x Vines of Vastwood

Creatures (16)

4x Glistener Elf
4x Blight Mamba
4x Ichorclaw Myr
4x Rot Wolf

Land (17)

17x Forest

Sideboard (15)

4x Fog
2x Viridian Longbow

2x Corpse Cur
4x Hornet Sting
3x Hunger of the Howlpack

Alright, lets at least try for some analysis (thinking...) Alright, that is going to be crap, there's no depth, you can't analyze "didn't draw enough creatures" for very long. I'll instead try to focus on the decks of my opponents instead to see if you get some ideas.

Match 1 2-1 Win vs White/Black Exalted

Some good stuff in here. Tormented Soul and exalted creatures forms the basis of the deck. Pillory of the Sleepless adds more defense. Not much to dislike. I lost game 1, by not drawing enough creatures and then I won games two and three by drawing enough creatures... Ugh. I never hated playing as infect until I started reporting on their games. One dimensional much?

Match 2 0-2 Loss vs Mono red

This was a match I lost because I didn't read the cards. Leaving a Glistener Elf back to block a flying creature in game 1 then in game two, I drew my creatures but had no answer to the 27 burn spells cast in response to my protection/hexproofing. Impetuous Sunchaser was the major damage dealer on both occasions.

Match 3 - 1-2 loss to mono black control.

Against my good friend John who I tried and failed to convince to run four undying evil in the deck still beat me handily. Game one I kept a god hand and pumped my way to 10 counters in turn 5. Game 2 we both had to mulligan twice, but we opted to draw seven instead, games two and three took a similar pattern. We traded for a while, his removal against my creatures, but eventually a Chittering Rats went through unblocked to allow Okiba-Gang Shinobi to hit. Sat with a rapidly diminishing hand knowing I was about to draw a card I didn't need all I could do was wait and discard two more cards. 

With an empty hand and terrible board position I conceded. If I cast the top decked creature, it would get removed. If I kept it in hand to wait for a protection spell, it would be discarded to the Okiba-Gang.


Watch 4 - 2-1 win vs G Infect 

It's a mirror match basically. He was running extra lands including swamps for his only black card, plague stinger. 

The rest of it was basically my deck with plague stingers instead of Rot Wolf. My sideboard won me the second and third games, in came Fog, Hornet Sting and Hunger of the Howlpack (anti infect +1/+1 counter tech ) allows me to trade with other infect creatures to an extent. Out came Rangers Guile, Vines of the Vastwood and Rot Wolf.

I'll be dissolving this deck back into the modern/legacy pauper version. I won't be playing Modern Pauper again unless I'm really inspired. Phil Collins has left Genesis once again.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Magic: the Mathering - The Robert Llewellyn Deck

Standard last night. I went 2-2. With two fairly convincing wins, one utter blowout loss and one interesting match that might have gone differently with more practice and a better memory.

The Robert Llewellyn Deck (Scrapheap Challenge)

24 Lands

4 Overgrown Tomb
3 Blood Crypt
1 Temple of Malice
7 Forest
6 Swamp
3 Mountain

25 Creatures

4 Gladecover Scout
4 Lotleth Troll
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Witchstalker
4 Dreg Mangler
3 Varolz, the Scar Striped
1 Desecration Demon

1 Polukranos, World Eater

10 Others

2 Abrupt Decay
4 Golgari Charm
3 Whip of Eberos
2 Slaughter Games


4 Dark Betrayal
3 Eye Gouge
1 Ultimate Price
2 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Slaughter Games
1 Savageborn Hydra


Let's talk about the basic combos and synergies that the deck has.

Creatures that are either hexproof (Gladecover Scout and Witchstalker) creatures that regenerate (Lotleth Troll and Varolz himself) plus scavenge through Varolz or Dreg mangler = Big creatures and things like golgari charm that reads counter target boardwipe/removal creatures that won't go away,backed up by either a big demon or big hydra which I should really run more of, but you know, cheap. Good CMC:Power ratio for Varolz's scavenging abilities too.

I will also mention once again that Slaughter Games is my favourite card ever printed.

So. How did we do?

Match 1 - Rakdos Aggro

Game 1

I never got going in this game. Mulligan to six on the play, turn three Slaughter Games whiffed looking for four desecration demons that were not there. Sad trombone. I stabilize and held off a little with a Lotleth Troll and a Sylvian Caryatid but then I'm in top deck mode. Two lands and a golgari charm don't advance my win conditions and his Herald of Torment that has Madcap Skillz flies through to end it quickly

Much sideboarding. +4 Dark Betrayal, +1 Ultimate price, -1 Varolz -1 Gladecover Scout -2 Slaughter games -1 Whip

Game 2

I decide to draw, I have more answers to aggro and I hate to mulligan.

My opponent plays out a turn 1 Tormented Hero, followed by a turn 2 madcap skills. That's the kind of draw you hope to see as an aggro player. My turn I decided to use the golgari charm -1/-1 ability and banish them both. His next turn see an unleashed cackler and I drop it's arch nemesis, the dreaded Sylvan Caryatid. We race for a little but I take it after getting him to run into some favourable trading blocks before regenerating my team with the golgari charm and then Lotleth Trolls roll though to finish. Discard a Desecration Demon to Lotleth Troll pay 2BB to scavenge six counters for a total of 9/8, move to attack phase.

Game 3

My opponent decides to play. Fine by me. Turn 1 Rakdos Cackler, unleashed. I reply with a gladecover scout. Turn 2 see another tormented hero and another cackler but I am bought time by another Caryatid.Turn 3 sees me drop a 3/3 Witchstalker and have one black mana floating for dark betrayal.Good board position. Confident.

His turn sees no additional creatures and attacks with his team. I betray the Tormented Hero and the Witchstalker and Caryatid blocks a cackler each. Opponent decides to magma jet me for 2 when he realises Witchstalker is hexproof. Suggests a misplay.

My turn comes around and I drop a dreg mangler, swinging for 6. The turn after he plays another Herald of Torment. My turn comes around and with mana open for either a golgari charm or ultimate price I decide to drop the whip and swing with everyone to a concession.

Match 2 vs Orzhov Control

Game 1

I dropped my oppoent's life total down to 10, through a combination of Lotleth Troll and Dreg Manglers but his Lifebane Zombies and Thoughtseize's did their job and I was then in top deck mode. Bile blight took care of my Lotleth Trolls and I had no answer to Obzedat and Elspeth who went ultimate with 8 soldiers on the battlefield.

Game 2

Sideboard +2 Slaughter Games -2 Golgari Charm

Really struggled in this game too. Poor match up for this deck I think. His sideboard had been put to work bringing in Blood Baron which, with it's lifelink and protection black I really have a hard time with. A combination of his Desecration Demons, Lifebane Zombies and Thoughtseizes ripped out my hand but not before I abrupt decayed his underworld connections. Bought my self one last turn for some top deck wonder draws by using a golgari charm to drop his attacking 6/6 demon by -1/-1 while on 6 life. Play of the day if it worked.

It didn't work.

Match 3 vs Boros Burn.

Game 1

Win the roll but choose to draw, predictably I mulligan to six, but on the draw not terrible, might actually switch to choosing to draw in the standard format. I just like the versatility to aggressively mulligan that extra draw gives me.

I hold off for a while but couldn't draw enough creatures. Opening hand of three lands a creature, a golgari charm and abrupt decay is keeper when you draw six, but a never ending stream of land and Golgari charms didn't back up my early Caryatid and Dreg Mangler and I lost to a Stormbreath Dragon going monstrous.

Game 2

+1 Ultimate Price -1 Gladecover Scout

I was 1 point away from winning. A turn 3 slaughter games thanks to a Caryatid ripped out his Stormbreath Dragons. Nice to see an $80 playset sat in exile from a 50 cent rare. I lost to combination of Ash Zealots with bestowed Everflame Eidolons and a pair of Flame-Wreathed Phoenix. I had the whip out but got beaten for pace.

A mistake in attacking meant I attacked into a reckoner with the intention of trading even with it's first strike but didn't take into account regenerating a creature removes it from combat so I couldn't kill the reckoner or block with my creature afterwards either. A poor move and it cost me ultimately the match.

Match 4 - Dimir Mill-ish

Game 1

Both of us were 1-2 at this point so the game was fairly relaxed. As I discovered his deck was based around Duskmantle Guildmage and various "free" ways to mill. I really got a kick out of it, I related in that it was a difficult archetype and the poor chap had banked on at least some non-control type decks.

We proceed slowly, I resolve creatures, he resolves walls. He gets Jace, Memory adept to stick with Duskmantle Guildmage in play and then the next turn mills/pings me for ten. A Wall of Frost slows me down a little but I eventually resolve a Desecration Demon and beat face with it and two Lotleth Trolls and a dreg mangler for the win.

Game 2

I lost by drawing from an empty deck is the short version. Phenax, God of Deception gets on line with a Wall of frost and Ashiok in play and I start to lose 17 cards in my end step. Hero's Downfall hits a couple of my big creatures including Polukranos and I lose in quick order.

Game 3

Game three played right into my hands and I kept an opening hand with two Varolz. Predictiably the Jace mill 10 came up and dumped some power into my graveyard. By that time I had good board position and a Whip of Eberos resolved. I then cast Varolz, and scavenged a Desecration Demon onto a Lotleth Troll already in play. Wall of Frost has no answers. The turn after I scavenged two Dreg Manglers (For 1BG each thanks to Varolz) onto a Witchstalker and a Gladecover Scout and was swinging for lethal a turn later when I saved a dark betrayal, an ultimate price AND an abrupt decay to remove three blockers.

The end result is that it's a lot of fun to play with. 5/4 Lotleth Trolls are normally poor use of your cards especially if they get blown up, but if you can bring the discarded cards with either the whip or Varolz's scavenge then you get the extra utility. If I were a rich man I'd actually swap things around a litte I missed the link between bloodrush and scavenge. I'd find space for 2 of Xenagos, God of Revels and 4 Ghor-Clan Rampager or Scorchwalker probably at the expense of the Witchstalkers and the Slaughter Games.