Dear readers and friends of Magic: the Gathering!
Waaay back in the olden days, when Magic cards still used to look like this…
…instead of like so…
…I used to play, between the Odyssey and (first) Mirrodin eras, I used to play a version of Red-Green Beatdown quite usual for these times, with cheap and efficient Creatures supported by red burn Spells and including quite some cards with the awesome Madness ability, such as the above seen Basking Rootwalla, as well as staples in such a deck such as Arrogant Wurm and Violent Eruption, all of the latter enabled through the “star of the show”: Wild Mongrel.
I don’t have the definite list, if there ever was one, of the old deck I used to play back then handy, but I do know that at some point, I decided to splash some Black in an effort to get an alternative discard outlet to good old Mongrel, in the form of Zombie Infestation:
Now, as I massively enjoyed that deck back then, I thought why not have a “blast from the past” and revisit this old deck favorite of mine and have a look how I would play this one nowadays, taking into account all the additional cards (that I am aware of) released since when I stopped playing this towards the end of the first Mirrodin Block! And here, right away, is what I came up with regarding the decklist:
“Jund” Oldschool Beatdown (Legacy Format):
4 x Basking Rootwalla G
4 x Putrid Imp B
4 x Wild Mongrel 1G
4 x Blood Scrivener 1B
2 x Anger 3R
2 x Arrogant Wurm 3GG
2 x Reckless Wurm 3RR
4 x Fiery Temper 1RR
4 x Violent Erruption 1RRR
4 x Faithless Looting R
2 x Browbeat 2R
2 x Roar of the Wurm 6G
2 x Zombie Infestation
2 x Keldon Megaliths
4 x Llanowar Wastes
4 x Karplusan Forest
4 x Mountain
3 x Forest
3 x Swamp
About the Deck:
Well the deck as portrayed above doesn’t feature a whole lot of new cards (3 “modern” ones to which I will get shortly) and features mostly old classics and staples in the Odyssey era Red/Green Beatdown build, such as the Madness cards Basking Rootwalla, Fiery Temper and Violent Erruption as well, as central piece of the deck, the all-enabling (when it comes to Madness) Wild Mongrel which have been shown above. Back then, I tried to add a splash of black but for some reason I never played what would be Black’s answer to Mongrel, maybe cause I just wasn’t aware of his existance, Putrid Imp. Have a look:
He is so great and I WOULD have included him back then when this decks still was “hot” (all I was aware of as it seems was Zombie Infestation as an additional discard outlet – however you need at least 2 cards in hand to use its ability – not so with Imp) for sure if I had been aware of his existence. I mean he’s the perfect turn 1 play/one-drop, lets you discard any number of cards any time at the benefit of gaining Flying for a turn AND his discarding ability also makes him grow a bit larger eventually, as he’ll get +1/+1 when Threshold (7 or more cards in your graveyard) has been reached. I see it right before me.
Notably, this deck lacks any form of mana acceleration and not even the “classic” Birds of Paradise found its way onto the list, although this is a three-color deck. Well my plan is to have a well-working mana curve that does not need the mana acceleration from Birds of various Elves etc. The ideal first three turns would be turn 1 Imp, optionally powering out some Rootwallas for free (Look at their Madness cost!), second turn Mongrel and Madness-enabled turn 3 Wurm (Arrogant or Reckless – it doesn’t matter!). In this deck I tried to make the most of my “natural” mana-curve so there would be no need for Birds or similar mana acceleration, yes it would even be a waste of card slots to add them.
A few words on the three “modern” additions to the deck, which I think all really shine in the old deck and even make it a lot more powerful than before and I think I WOULD have ran these three back in the days if they had been available! Let me start with the most awesome one:
Blood Scrivener is just so grand in a deck like this, which gives you tons of ways to empty your hand for useful effects (Mongrel + Madness anyone??) as he more or less doubles your every draw at the cost of 1 measly, expendable Life. I cannot believe how this one could average in at around 25 US Cents whilst his well-known and highly famed brother Dark Confidant goes for an outrageous 80+ USD on average. I mean stats and cost wise they are identical but in the context of this deck in particular, Blood Scrivener is strictly superior than Confidant in more than one way. For once, all you will ever be taxed when it comes to Life will be 1, and just 1, whereas with Confidant you could end up paying a hefty 5 Life if it was a Wurm you revealed or even more in case of Roar of the Wurm. Also, in theory you could use Scrivener’s ability more than once per turn, which obviously is neat and better than Confidant as well.
Then I added Faithless Looting, which is just a red Careful Study with the added bonus of having Flashback at the very much affordable cost of just 2R. What is better than Careful Study in a Madness-heavy deck? Right, two Careful Studies packed in one card! Awesomeness. How would I have loved to have this card available back in the old days!!
The last card is a land with a “Hellbent” ability, going by the name of Keldon Monoliths. Hellbent is an ability that could be used much more in a deck like this, as it usually gives some extra abilities to cards as long as your hand is empty, as long as you have no cards in hand. This I am going to discuss in a minute, but for the deck as it stands now, I simply did not see any Hellbent cards to really include in the deck besides Keldon Megaliths. So the card itself is a land that comes into play tapped and produces red mana. Now the really cool part is the Hellbent bit: As long as you have no cards in hand (Imp, Mongrel, Zombie Infestation anyone!?!) you cant tap it and pay 1R to inflict 1 damaget to target Creature or Player, which I deem could be highly useful to get rid of pesky 1 Thoughness Creatures or even to push through these last few bits of damage needed for the win!
As I read through the list of cards with Hellbent, there was only one other card that raised my curious eyebrow, but I do not know if the card is really needed in the deck and if the 5 Mana is really worth the investment and the card worth the two card slots I would free for it by either removing the classic Roar of the Wurm or Browbeat. Anywas have a look for yourself:
Of course this would kick some serious ass if you were able to double the damage inflicted by your Creatures or for instance distribute 8 instead of 4 damage through a Madness-enabled Violent Erruption for just 3 Mana basically. I mean the Hellbent condition of having no cards in hand could be easily met, but I am just not sure if the 5 casting cost Rakdos Anthem is really needed in this specific kind of deck. But as I assume the Anthem is cheap as hell, I am very willing to try out if anything is gaind by running two of these! We will see how the card performs once I have the deck together – currently waiting for my playset of Putrid Imp and Blood Scrivener!
And here’s for our first (and last!!) encore:
Bonus Deck: WUG Threshold! (for Casual or Legacy Play)
Back in the times of the Odyssey Era, I have always looked at this kickass deck with the desire to have the financial means to assemble and play it myself, but always just envied those who had the cards in their possession as those weren’t exactly cheap back then. But now, or some time soon at the very least, I think my time has come to indulge in some Magic nostalgia and GET this deck built at last!! I may be 10 years late or so but what the F! I also happen to own playsets of the Blue-White and White-Green Onslaught Fetchlands by now so the road is paved for some WUG Threshold Deck action and, which seals the deal for me, this big badass Threshold guy costs a fraction of the price it cost in the Odyssey/Onslaught Era, and I am hoping to get my playest at no more than about 2 bucks (US-Dollars) or so:
But anyways, on to a possible Decklist that isn’t actual a deck built on a budget by any means (featuring insanley expensive cards such as Noble Hierarch and aforementioned Onslaught Fetchlands), but thank the Grand Genghis Khan in heaven that I own all the costly stuff anyways! So no big deal!! Here comes…
WUG Threshold Revamped!! (Casual/Legacy)
4 x Noble Hierarch G
4 x Nimble Mongoose G
4 x Werebear 1G
4 x Wild Mongrel 1G
3 x Mystic Crusader 1WW
2 x Knight of the Reliquary 1GW
2 x Crosan Beast 3G
3 x Mystic Enforcer 2GW
4 x Breakthrough XU
4 x Quiet Speculation 1U
2 x Deep Analysis 3U
2 x Roar of the Wurm 6G
4 x Flooded Strand
4 x Windswept Heath
3 x Wasteland
3 x Nantuko Monastery
4 x Forest
2 x Plains
2 x Tropical Island
About the Deck:
Nope, no in depth discussion of how this deck is supposed to work! I humbly refer you to http://magiccards.info/ to go ahead and educate yourself this time!! Nasty, evil, lazy me!!