MtG: Two Synergetic Decks: One more, one less competitive…

Howdy friends and fans, not of Elemental Clash, but of Magic: the Gathering!

Being quite busy with my own projects for quite a while I was unable to post on an EXISTING, non-homemade game like M:tG in quite a long time. This long overdue post which I had wanted to write up long ago actually is about, surprise, surprise, some decks. These decks have little in common, just the fact that there are a lot of interactions, some more sublte, some outright brutal, going on between the indivudual cards in the respective decks: I am talking about synergies. This will be the red thread that connects the two decks which I am going to showcase in the following. One of the decks is a blast from my (personal) past, as I had played that mostly casually in the first Mirrodin block, and the second one is something brand new, something I did not see somewhere else or outright “net-decked”, but something original I have come up with. And the result is so pleasant that I would consider it at least semi-competitive…

So let’s get started with the first, less competitive decks which I’d like to call

Bits & Pieces (V.1.0 – Casual Format)

I will provide the decklist first and then discuss the cards and their interactions:

Creatures…20

4 x Myr Servitor (1)

4 x Etherium Sculptor (1U)

4 x Leonin Squire (1R)

4 x Trinket Mage (2U)

4 x Auriok Salvagers (3W)

Instants…2

2 x Thirst for Knowledge (2U)

Enchantments…4

4 x Artificer’s Intuition  (1U)

Artifacts…10

4 x Aether Spellbomb (1)

2 x Pyrite Spellbomb (1)

1 x Sunbeam Spellbomb (1)

1 x Wayfarer’s Bauble (1)

1 x Executioner’s Capsule (B)

1 x Dispeller’s Capsule (W)

Lands…24

4 x Mirrodin’s Core

4 x Seat of the Synod

4 x Ancient Den

2 x Great Furnace

2 x Vault of Whispers

2 x Darksteel Citadel

2 x Island

2 x Plains

1 x Mountain

1 x Swamp

About the Deck:

This deck revolves around “Cogs” as they were called back then in the first Mirrodin Era, when I still played on tournaments, and was inspired by a deck article about said “Cogs” that I read on Wizards.com, the official MtG platform on the internet: Now the fudge are Cogs anyways you may ask? Well a Cog is a small artifact with cost 1 or less and there were some cards that supported playing those back then in Mirrodin, most of which are included in the above deck list. This deck, whilst being slow and probably not fit for a competitive environment, works like a well-oiled engines of gears, bits and pieces and these ominous “Cogs”. The two central parts of that engine are no doubt

and

The former, Auriok Salvagers lets you retrieve your destroyed or sacrificed Cogs from your graveyard inexpensively and conveniently, which is especially crippling for your opponent if used with Aether Spellbomb, the number 1 way to deal with any creature this deck features, and the latter lets you search your deck for any small artifact, or Cog, you may want or need at any given point in the game. Actually back then when the deck was still Block Format legal, I drew out a diagram of all the interactions this deck features in conjunction with Cogs, and man what a diagram I had there! Only things missing in this deck are to a lesser extent Engineered Explosives and, far more important, Skullclamp, which is a Cog and can be searched or retrieved easily, and turns your small Creatures into very cheap and reliable card draw. Well it is banned pretty much anywhere for good reasons! And how do you win with this you may ask futhermore. The answer is pretty amusing: Either by pinging away at the opponent with reusable Pyrite Spellbombs, or by just attacking away with your small Creatures like Trinket Mage or Leonin Squire. And amusingly, it does work. You will be bouncing the opponent’s blockers constantly with Aether Spellbombs or downright destroying them with your lone Executioner’s Capsule so the field will be clear of any defenses in most cases. Speaking of Spellbombs, they are the heart and soul of the deck, with the most important one being Aether Spellbomb. Hence I included a full playset of four of those. There is one newer card I added besides the Capsules: Etherium Sculptor works really well with you Spellbombs as they will all come at 0 cost, thus making it easier and cheaper to recycle and reuse them.

But please let me go a bit more into details now as I go through the indivudual cards and comment on their purpose in the deck:

Myr Servitor: Those guys are amazing blockers if you got them in multiples. To get access to more than one or at best to all four Servitors in the deck I recommend to discard one from your hand via Artificer’s Intuition and search for another copy. Repeat this until the last Servitor from your deck is in your hand. Then play him for just (1) and if nothing goes wrong he will bring back all his brethren from the scrapheap, err…graveyard to play at the beginning of your next turn.

Etherium Sculptor: A cheap artifact creature that conveniently reduces the cost of your artifacts by (1). Who would say no to free Spellbombs??

Leonin Squire: A one-shot Auriok Salvagers effect (lets you retrieve a cost (1) or lower artifact from your graveyard when it comes into play) attached to a 2/2 body for just 2 Mana. Very nice and a good beater in this deck.

Trinket Mage: A one-shot Artificer’s Intuition type of effect (lets you search your deck for a cost (1) or lower artifact and puts it into your hand right away when it comes into play) attached to a 2/2 body at the cost of (2U). Very useful for “tutoring” for the “Cog” you need most at any point in the game. I often find myself looking for an Artifact land to get together all 4 colors this deck is using.

Auriok Salvagers: The main man in the deck. While his stats could be better at 2/4 for (3W), his effect is what makes this engine roar! At the mere cost of (1W) you can return any artifact with cost (1) or lower from your graveyard to your hand. And you don’t even have to tap the Salvagers so you can use this amazing ability mutliple times to recycle and reuse your Spellbombs and other “Trinkets” over and over again. As long as you don’t run out of mana that is…

Thirst for Knowledge: Nice instant-speed card draw. Draw 3, discard any artifact and maybe retrieve it later.

Artificer’s Intuition: Another key component in the deck that turns a bunch of random gears, bits and pieces into one well-running engine. Pay (U) to discard any artifact from your hand in order to search your deck for one artifact of cost (1) or less. As described above, you can amass a respawning army of Myr Servitors, fetch the Spellbomb you need the most or just ensure you got all the colors of mana you need by looking for appropriate artifact lands.

Aether Spellbomb: This is you main weapon for stalling and getting rid of opponent blockers. As all Spellbombs, this one draws you a card alternatively to its bounce-effect by paying (1) and sacrificing it. As all Spellbombs, this will be free if you have an Etherium Sculptor out.

Pyrite Spellbomb: A game winner in the long run. Can be sacrificed by paying (R) to deal 2 damage to any creature or player. Use it to get rid of small, pesky Creatures or ping away to your hearts content at your opponent.

Sunbeam Spellbomb: Keeps you alive a little longer until all the parts of your engine are in place by gaining you 5 life for paying (W) and sacking it.

Wayfarer’s Bauble: Searches for a basic land and puts it into play. Hence the inclusion of some basic lands in the deck.

Executioner’s Capsule: Destroys any non-black creature. A silver bullet which can be fetched via Trinket Mage or Artificer’s Intuition.

Dispeller’s Capsule: Another silver bullet which gets rid of any target artifact or enchantment.

Mirrodin’s Core and Artifact Lands: Mirrodin’s core is a bit slow but provides mana of any color after having been “charged up” which is useful in a 4-color deck. Colored artifact lands can conveniently fetched with Trinket Mage and Artificer’s Intuition and Darkesteel Forges are good against land destruction for instance.

(D)Raw-Power (V.1.0 – Legacy Format):

Again I will provide the decklist and then share some thougts on the deck in general and the individual card choices in particular:

Creatures…20

4 x Birds of Paradies (G)

4 x River Boa (1G)

4 x Wild Mongrel (1G)

4 x Lorescale Coatl (1UG)

3 x Cold-Eyed Selkie (1 U/G U/G)

1 x Wonder (3U)

Enchantments…12

4 x Rancor (G)

4 x Spreading Seas (1U)

4 x Snake Umbra (2G)

Instants…4

4 x Brainstorm (U)

Lands…24

13 x Forest

11 x Island

About the Deck:

This deck is pretty original, as in I nicked the idea nowhere (of course I cannot be absolutely sure there hasn’t been such a deck  before in the history of M:tG) and as so many of my decks, all started with one card that caught my attention.

This time it was an overlooked and underrated uncommon from Alara Reborn:

When I saw this I thought there should be a deck built around that guy! And my second thought was this:

Yeah that’s right, Lorescale Coatl, which would be a 3/3 the turn it attacked the first time due to your regular draw at the beginning of your next turn, would get a permanent +3/+3 attack boost by you spending just (U) on Brainstorm, instant speed. And yeah, you’d get the awesome effect of Brainstorm anyways. The rest of the deck is blue-green beatdown at its best and all cards have great synergy with the combo or center card (Lorescale Coatl) that got me started on this deck. In fact the deck works so well that I would at least try my luck with this in a competitive Legacy-Format environment. This deck is totally rogue, and I am happy about the fact that I came up with the concept myself, whithout having seen something similar before somewhere else.

But let me highlight part of the great synergies going on in my Draw Power / Raw Power deck buy going through the cards one by one:

Birds of Paradise: Well besides that they are great mana accelerators, enabling a second turn Coatl, they have flying. And oh boy is that awesome in this deck. Enchant with Rancor to get two almost unblockable damage through each turn, or enchant with Snake Umbra in order to get through a little damage and draw a card which would boost Coatl if he is out already. I considered adding two Noble Hierarchs to have 6 one mana mana makers that make blue and green mana in total but found that 4 BoP are sufficient after all.

River Boa: A very efficient two mana Creature: 2/1, regenerates, has Islandwalk. Use Spreading Seas to make it unblockable and then add Rancor and/or Snake Umbra for additional beats and card draw!

Wild Mongrel: This one was a power house and must have in any green beatdown-ish deck while ago but is rarely seen today. As you’ll be having a lot of spare cards in your hand when playing this deck, you can feed it to this dog to make him grow huge. The color-changing ability can be useful some times as well against cards like Doom Blade for instance.

Lorescale Coatl: The main man in this show! As discussed before he will be attacking at least as a 3/3 and his growth will seem exponential once you get your bountiful draw effects into place. I have to mention it again: A 1 mana instant-speed Brainstorm will give Coatl +3/+3 in the form of +1/+1 coutners, so permanently.

Cold-Eyed Selkie: Islandwalk! Combine with Spreading Seas and this will hit your opponent turn after turn after turn. Draw 1 card for each damage this deals to your opponent. Slam Rancor on Selkie to deal 3 damage and draw 3 cards, which will give your Coatl(s) a permanent +3/+3 boost. Play Snake Umbra on Selkie and you will draw 2 cards from Selkie’s effect and 1 card from Umbra’s effect to give your Coatl(s) 3 +1/+1 counters as well. Either way, you can only benefit from these synergies… 🙂

Wonder: I threw in one odd copy of Wonder in case the islandwalking thing is not working out for you. Just discard to Mongrel and hey presto, all your creatures are hard-to-block flyers all of a sudden.

Rancor: A permanent +2/+0 boost for any Creature that returns to your hand if the Creature is destroyed is amazing, especially when combined with cards like Cold-Eyed Selkie. The Trample ability it grants is the icing on the cake and makes sure you 20/20 Lorescale Coatl gets his damage past a pesky 1/1 blocker for instance. Works also really well with a powered-up Wild Mongrel or pretty much any of the creatures in this deck, even a lowly Bird (of Paradies).

Spreading Seas:

7 of your 20 Creatures have Islandwalk. So Spreading Seas will not only turn an opponent land into an Island, making it hard to use in any non-blue deck, draw you a card while you are at it but also make your River Boas and Cold-Eyed Selkies unblockable. A card that is thrice useful is a good card in my humble opinion!

Snake Umbra: Another card in this deck which has more than one purpose. Snake Umbra does so much: It gives the creature it enchants a permanent +1/+1 boost, lets you draw a card when that creature deals damage to an opponent AND protects the creature as well via Totem Armor. Prime targets are your hard-to-block Creatures like Cold-Eyed Selkie or even Birds of Paradise, or, for protective purposes, Lorescale Coatl itself.

Brainstorm: For the third time in this article: A permanent +3/+3 boost for Lorescale Coatl at the cost of (U) plus you get an amazing and useful deck manipulation effect on top of it. The only reason why this deck is Legacy Format! 😀

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