MtG Nostalgia – Three Old-School Decks in the Spotlight

Dear readers and friends of the awesome Magic: the Gathering TCG!

It has been just a day since I last posted about MtG Decks but as I have built about a dozen of those recently, I wanted to follow up with yet another deck and strategy article on the foot!

In this article I want to focus on “old-school” decks, of which I will be showcasing 3. These decks mostly consists of “pre-modern” cards and strategies, with one deck having been built devoid of ANY modern cards – a purely “anti-modern deck” or “classic deck” as you could call it.

The cool thing about decks that were played in the more distant past of MtG, and I am in the game for over 15 years, is that nowadays, decks that were terribly expensive to assemble back in the days are nowadays dirt-cheap to buy together. Just an example: I got my playset of Spiritmonger for about 2 US Dollars, whereas back then when that beast, which has lost nothing of its awesomeness in my eyes, would go for 10 – 20 Dollars a copy  if I remember correctly. In this articel however I won’t be posting a deck featuring the “Monger” (although I just HAVE to build a black green deck with four of ’em as I got 3 Pernicious Deeds and 4 Lotleth Trolls just lying around unused – what a shame!) but instead one deck I came up with all by myself (without the help/inspiration from the Internet) which uses only pre-modern cards, a GW Enchantment Beatdown Deck and another deck of my very own devising that worked surprisingly well and proved to be a major nuisance for my opponents, a Mono-Blue Isochron Scepter Deck and lastly I will showcase a good-old, classic Psychatog Build. Note that all decks are intended for casual play only and were built on a budget!

So let’s get started with the first deck:

GW Enchantment Beatdown:

Creatures…20

4 x Birds of Paradise

4 x Auratog 1G

4 x Femeref Enchantress GW

4 x Verduran Enchantress 1GG

1 x Cantivore 1WW

3 x Endless Wurm 3GG

Sorceries…4

4 x Rofellos’s Gift G

Enchantments…16

4 x Rancor G

4 x Briar Shield G

4 x Seal of Strength G

4 x Wild Growth G

Lands…20

4 x Brushland

5 x Plains

11 x Forest

About the Deck:

What makes this deck peculiar, and I noted it before, is that it consists exclusively of pre-modern cards, cards that is, that fearture the old, classic card layout. I built it this way on purpose, inspired by the pre-modern decks of Stefan, my good, new gaming buddy, who stopped playing MtG in the Urza Block – so, ages ago.

This deck is an enchantment-focused deck, yet totally different from the popular Enchantress decks that are played in the Legacy format. The deck’s heart and soul are pretty much the double team of enchantresses, namely Verduran Enchantress (I could not and did not want to afford 4 of the strictly superior Argothian Enchantresses 😦 ) which draws you a card whenever you play an Enchantment AND the VERY rarely seen Femeref Enchantress, which draws you a card whenever an Enchantment is put into any graveyard.

The deck is quite fast and able to conquer the opponent by force in just a few turns, due to some of the best and cheapest creature boosting Enchantments around, namely Rancor, Seal of Strength and Briar Shield. The cool thing about the latter two is that you have to sacrifice them to get their (full) effect so not only will you draw a card when you play them for 1 green mana each through Verduran Enchantress but you will also draw when one of them is put into your graveyard thanks to your Femeref Enchantress.

The deck contains a really cool combo which, as awesome as it is, is not really necessary to win, but if you happen to get a Rancor in  hand and this nasty fella…

…your opponent is bound to be treated to some major beating! For each green mana you can play Rancor and boost the ‘Tog by +2/+2 each time you sacrifice Rancor and replay it. Don’t sacrifice the Rancor when you cast it for the last time and your Auratog will be a colossal trampler swinging in for the kill – possibly.

Two noteworthy other cards in the deck are Rofellos Gift on the one hand and Endless Wurm on the other.

Rofellos Gift is a sorcery for 1 green mana which lets you reveal a number of green cards from your hand to retrieve that many Enchantments from your graveyard to your hand. Perfect for recovering sacrificed Briar Shields and Seal of Strenghts.

Endless Wurm just spells overkill in this deck: A 9/9 Trampler for just 3GG (!!!). The only downside or drawback the monstrous Wurm hasis negligable in this deck. During your upkeep you have to sacrifice an Enchantment to keep Endless Wurm alive. Once again, three cheers for Rancor!!

Bottom line: I tried this deck several times against all kinds of different decks and most of the times (except when I had bad luck drawing) it worked out like a charm – fast and deadly. I am highly pleased with the result of my “anti-modern” experiment!

Alright then, on to the next MtG nostalgia deck! It is once more something I came up without borrowing ideas from other decks or decks to be found on the web. Of course I cannot and will not claim I am the first to have come up with a build like this, which would be quite silly. Still I am quite happy with the non-influenced outcome! So here comes…

Mono-Blue Scepter Control:

Creatures…4

4 x Prognostic Sphinx 3UU

Instants…34

4 x Brainstorm U

4 x Counterspell UU

4 x Muddle the Mixture UU

4 x Memory Lapse 1U

4 x Boomerang UU

4 x Hoodwink 1U

4 x Accumulated Knowledge 1U

2 x Impulse 1U

Lands…22

4 x Fairy Conclave

18 x Island

About the Deck:

At first glance, the deck looks pretty boring with lots of cheap instants and just one Creature that was included as a finisher (Prognostic Sphinx – a card I like a ton and of which I can’t believe it is dirt cheap, a true “crap rare”), despite the fact that the deck can win with the Farie Conclaves alone as well.

The central strategy revolves around…

…combined with cheap and efficient blue instants such as Counterspell, Memory Lapse of Boomerang/Hoodwink. You may wonder why I don’t just play a so called “Scepter Chant” lockdown deck featuring Orim’s Chant, of which I happen to own 4 copies on top of that, but I decided to deliberately go for a mono-blue build that can be, in my opinion and from my experience with this deck so far, as much annoying and crippling for your opponent as a Scepter Chant deck would be.

So the basic plan of the deck is to get a hold of a Scepter asap – Muddle the Mixture does a wonderful job in Transmuting into a Scepter if you need one (or into anything else costing 2 mana, stuff of which the deck runs plenty) – and either go the “counterspell” route or go for the “return stuff” option. Imprinting a Counterspell on Scepter is awesome as you will be able to counter any spell once per turn. Memory Lapse is arguably even more crippling for your opponent as they will be forced to put the countered card back on top of their deck, drawing the same card over and over again. While the “countering strategy” sounds and is great, I even prefer to put a Boomerang and/or Hoodwink on one or more Scepters, as both let you return ANY permanent – INCLUDING LANDS – to the owner’s hand. So while you can return all opponent Creatures to their hands with surplus Boomerangs in your hand, you can put the opponent under a thorough “land-lock” as you use your Scepter with Boomerang imprinted turn after turn to return a land to your opponent’s hand each and every turn.

This deck, as I can tell from my (highly fun for me, highly frustrating for my opponent) test games so far, the deck is really slow and usually wins by attacking with the 2/1 Flying Farie Conclaves and in conjunction with a Prognostic Sphinx or two – which is optional, not mandatory. On a closing note on this deck, I just have to show you Prognostic Sphinx, which I deem totally awesome as it is hard to kill with 5 Toughness, even harder to kill because you can give it Hexproof if need be and on top of that it flies, attacks for 3 and lets you Scry: 3 each time it attacks! What a package!! Take a look:

Ok then, let’s move on to the next and last deck in this deck and strategy article. It is nothing original but saw major play back in the days. Now that all is dirt-cheap to obtain, I decided to relive some memories (I never had such a deck before as I have to note!) and build my very own PSYCHATOG Deck with some new cards and my own twists added. Furthermore, I now have a good home for my playset of precious Underground Seas. So here comes the deck list:

UB Classic Psychatog:

Creatures…8

4 x Nightscape Familiar 1B

4 x Psychatog 1UB

Instants…

4 x Brainstorm U

4 x Counterspell UU

4 x Daze 1U

4 x Rune Snag 1U

4 x Aether Burst 1U

4 x Accumulated Knowledge 1U

4 x Circular Logic 2U

4 x Forbidden Alchemy 2U

Lands…20

4 x Underground Sea

4 x Polluted Delta

4 x Mishra’s Factory

4 x Island

4 x Swamp

About the Deck:

Well, the deck is admittedly a pretty standard Psychatog-Build but it has a few personalized twists I added. First off I need to brag about my 4 Foil Player Rewards Psychatogs…

and my 4 Foil FNM Circular Logics to go along with what is arguably the nastiest of all the ‘Togs:

Well as I said the cards in the deck are pretty much all standard for any Psychatog Deck. Let me showcase a few of them anyways:

My only Creature besides the ‘Tog is Nightscape Familiar, which is a 1/1 for 1B that regenerates for 1B. But most important of all, he reduces the costs of my blue (and red – but I aint have any of that color in this deck) Spells by 1. This is pretty vital if you look at the costs of the cards in the above decklists. Nightscape Familiar will not only let me summon Psychatog for 2 mana, he will reduce the cost of many powerful instants to 1 blue Mana: Daze, Rune Snag, Aether Burst and Accumulated Knowledge’s costs will be halved once the Familiar is out.

Furthermore it should be noted, that this deck features various cards that grow stronger the more copies of the respective card are in your graveyard. A good example is Accumulated Knowledge which draws you 1 card plus 1 for each Accumulated Knowledge in your graveyard. Rune Snag and Aether Burst do the same for countering and bouncing respectively.

Lastly I should note that I casually added 4 Mishra’s Factories for the unlikely case that all my Psychatogs get killed or exiled or Thor knows what…. But with all the countermagic (4 Counterspells, 4 Daze, 4 Rune Snag, 4 Circular Logic) I am quite confident to be able to protect my ‘Tog(s) and the Factories will be just the icing on the cake, doing some additional damage!

OK, dear reader, this was my “MtG Nostalgia” deck and strategy article for you! I hope you found it at least to some degree interesting and informative and maybe you even got the urge now to build an old-school deck as well. There are many more decks out there that are really cheap to build as compared to when they were pretty new (Thinking Mirari’s Wake or Beast Bidding here) so feel free to tinker a bit with “old but gold” cards and deck ideas yourself.

So thank you for reading and

GAME ON!

Yours,

Andi

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