MtG: Helping out Aldi again OR How to turn one deck into two!

Dear readers and fellow friends of Magic: the Gathering!

I had a ton of fun playing my favorite role, that of “Mr Deck Doctor” that is, taking a close look at my Indonesian friend Aldi’s main Modern Deck (see previous post) and Aldi, as he said himself, found my suggestions very helpful and decided to tweak his deck a bit according to some of my suggestions. Thank you for your appreciation and open-mindedness Aldi!

After some very intriguing discussions about various Magic Deck ideas the two of us shared, Aldi sent me his idea for a secondary Modern Format Deck, this time in Green-Black. When I saw that, the “Deck Doctor itch” soon became unbearably again and so here I am to scratch that itch properly. When I first looked at Aldi’s “proto-decklist”, which I will share one to one as my Indonesian friend had mailed it to me, I immediately thought that the deck would probably be better if we’d actually make two seperate decks out of it. I will explain my reasoning after sharing Aldi’s decklist, which is not bad per se but needs some serious streamlining and even the general idea behind it, the strategy, as it stands is not half bad either. However I think it pursues two quite different strategies that would MAYBE be better off if one would split the deck and made two different ones, each focused on one of the two strategies, out of it. But more on that after I shared Aldi’s decklist which I will do right away:

Aldi’s Black-Green Modern Deck Idea:

Creatures…24

4 x Satyr Wayfinder 1G
4 x Boneyard Wurm 1G
4 x Bassara Tower Archer GG
4 x Sylvan Caryatid 1G
2 x Splinterfright 2G
2 x Herald of Torment 1BB
2 x Night Howler 1BB
2 x Gurmag Angler 5B
Sorceries…6
2 x Mulch 1G
2 x Commune with the Gods 1G
1 x Exposive Vegetation 3G
1 x Restock 3GG
Instants…6
2 x Grisly Salvage GB
2 x Gnaw to the Bone 2G
2 x Dark Dabbling 2B
Artifacts…1
1 x Bonehoard 4
Enchantments…2
1 x Wreath of Geists G
1 x Whip of Erebos 2BB

Lands…21
8 x Forest
8 x Swamp
4 x Jungle Hollow
1 x Evolving Wilds

About the Deck:

Well, Aldi’s original idea isn’t half bad at all as I said before: He’d fill his graveyard with lots of Creatures by means of Satyr Wayfinder, Mulch, Grisly Salvage an other similar cards and then play cards which will greatly benefit from Creatures being located in the graveyard(s) like the cheap Boneyard Wurm or Splinterfright and optionally slapping Wreath of Geists, Bonehoard or Night Howler on some hard-to-kill (due to Hexproof) Bassara Tower Archers to swing in for the kill.

So I really like the idea of Aldi’s deck and find it highly original and could see how this would be a fun-to-play deck. However I think it would need some serious streamlining and focussing, as he plays many cards that are great in and off themselves only once or twice, reducing the chance, without any real card draw and tutoring, to actually draw them when needed. Futhermore, first time I saw his proto decklist, my immediate thought was that there were actually two quite different approaches or strategies in the deck, which I would split up and focus on in two seperate decks. One would be some sort of “Graveyard-Tricks” build while the other approach would be making maximum use of extremely-hard-to-deal-with Hexproof Creatures – Aldi furthermore told me he wanted to add more awesome Hexproof Creatures such as good old Troll Ascetic, which cemented my idea of splitting the deck up into two seperate ones, each focused on one approach in general, even furhter. So let me showcase the two deck suggestions I’d have for Aldi in regard to that below. I will start with a HIGHLY budget friendly (mostly common and uncommon cards included) Black-Green “Graveyard Trix” Deck suggestion, which is more suitable for casual play than for a competitive enviroment I guess, and then follow up with a slightly more expensive monogreen Hexproof Deck, which could be quite potent even in a competitive environment – maybe: testing would be needed to demonstrate that!

So let’s get started with

Andi’s Cheapo BG Graveyard Trix Deck Suggestion (Modern):

Creatures…20

4 x Satyr Wayfinder 1G

4 x Boneyard Wurm 1G

4 x Splinterfright 2G

4 x Stinkweed Imp 2B

4 x Nyx Weaver 1GB

Instants…8

4 x Grisly Salvage GB

4 x Murderous Cut 4B

Sorceries…10

4 x Mulch 1G

4 x Night’s Whisper 1B

2 x Dead Drop 9B

Lands…22

4 x Jungle Hollow

4 x Terramorphic Expanse

4 x Evolving Wilds

5 x Forest

3 x Swamp

2 x Dakmor Salvage

About the Deck:

Well the deck is VERY budget friendly as I said before and probably not fit for a competitive (tournament) environment, and money-wise there would be room for improvement of course for example by replacing the Terramorphic Expanses and Evolving Wilds with proper Fetchlands like Verdant Catacombs and some “Shocklands” namely Overgrown Tomb, etc., but that would make the deck’s cost in Dollars skyrocket, which is not the point of the “exercise”…

So basically, what you’d do with the above Deck would be filling your Graveyard quickly with various cards such as Satyr Wayfinder, Mulch, Grisly Salvage and first and foremost, your one-stop-soltion for constant graveyard filling:

There’s also Dakmor Salvage (Land) which can add to the graveyard filling via Dredge to a lesser extent.

A great card in a Black Green Deck like this is Nyx Weaver…

…which is greart in three ways in my opinion. Firstly a 2/3 body with Reach is not half bad to begin with, then the nasty spider “enriches” your graveyard constantly –  see card image above – AND lastly and most awesome, you can pay 1GB and exile her to retrieve any lost key card from your graveyard – those are the reasons why I am not just running 4 Eternal Witnesses instead.

So what you’do with your graveyard all stocked up on Creatures and other cards is firstly cast some terrific Creature removal Spells like the awesome Murderous Cut, which gets rid of pretty much any Creature for the mere cost of 1 black mana if you exile some cards from your graveyard (do keep the Creatures and exile only non Creature cards for reasons that will become apparent soon) or the possibly devastating Dead Drop.

The deck is supposed to win with either a huge, trampling Splinterfright…

…and to a lesser extent through the cheaper but non-trampling Boneyard Wurm, which will be just as huge as Splinterfright anyways. I’d probably want to make room for 2 copies of Necropolis Fiend as an alternative, hard to block (due to Flying) and cheap to cast (due to Delve) additional win condition:

Lastly I would like to mention that I added some on first glance off topic card draw in the form Night’s Whisper, which draws you 2 at the cost of 1B and 2 Life. I added it simply to be able to Dredge up one or even two Stinkweed Imps without having to actually skip my regular draw, which is a thing I’d hate to do in general…

OK that is it for this budget friendly “Graveyard Trix” build, which again is probably not all too competitive but nonetheless a fun deck to play as I am pretty certain. So on to the second deck, which might just be a wee bit more potent and possibly competitive deck. Here comes…

Andi’s Monogreen Hexproof Bash (Modern):

Creatures…24

4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Gladecover Scout G

4 x Silhana Ledgewalker 1G

4 x Bassara Tower Archer GG

4 x Dungrove Elder 2G

4 x Troll Ascetic 1GG

Instants…4

4 x Harrow 2G

Enchantments…10

4 x Rancor G

2 x Primal Rage 1G

4 x Blanchwood Armor 2G

Lands…22

22 x Forest

Possible Sideboard…?

4 x Witchstalker 1GG

4 x ???

About the Deck:

So this is the second deck Aldi’s deck idea inspired me to, and as you can see when looking up the Creatures in the list, it features no less than 20 Hexproof Creatures with only Birds of Paradise not having that highly useful ability (You may wonder why I insisted on Birds in a mono-green deck instead of opting for the vastly cheaper “Mana Elves” like Llanowar Elves and their more recent counterparts Elvish Mystic for early mana acceleration – if you can’t quite see the reason from looking at the decklist alone, never fear – all shall be explained in due time!). Hexproof is “golden” nowadays with predominantly white pinpoint Creature removal like the omnipresent and highly effective Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring to name just two of these cards bein seen a lot in tournaments and such. When you look at the Creatures, most of them have VERY useful and powerful secondary abilities besides their “Hexproof Status”. Silhana Ledgewalker is hard to block (As it can only be blocked by Flyers and Creatures with Reach), Bassara Tower Archer on the other hand has Reach himself so you got defenses when facing opponent Flyers and Troll Ascetic regenerates, serving as a great blocker and surviving mass Creature removal such as Day of Judgment and the uncounterable Supreme Verdict. However a classic Wrath of God would do the Troll in still due to Wrath’s “Creatures cannot be regenerated” clause. A highly interesting and potent Hexproof Creature that is part of the reason why I am running basic forests only as lands in this deck is this awesome treefolk dude:

If you drop this one on say turn 3 you will already have an almost impossible to kill 3/3 Creature, which would be great in and off itself but provided you keep dropping Forests, this one will grow rapidly and become ever more menacing and more of a threat to your opponent… And it can get even worse for your adversary! Let me explain some more:

Now when I was thinking about and coming up with the above decklist I noticed one problem the deck or rather all its Creatures have, which is the following: You may have a huge Dungrove Elder and/or an army of highly cost effective Hexproof Creatures but what good is a 10/10 Dungrove for instance if you opponent has some blockers, even if they are tiny in comparison to your Creature(s)? Well, the key to solving that problem is, and that is my suggestion or conclusion, one simple, classic keyword / creature ability. I am talking about good old Trample! So I figured if I would augment my Creatures by means of granting one or more of them the Trample abiltiy, Dungrove Elder and his hexproof ilk would hit your opponent hard, even if they have some blockers! And what is – argueably –  the single best green card in the Modern Format when it comes to mana cost and power  that grants Trample and is overall super-awesome when it comes to additional abilities. My vote would be in favor of…. wait for it….

Slam that on an already quite huge Dungrove Elder an he’ll not only Trample all over your opponent and their defenses for the mere cost of 1 green mana, but also, on top of the Trample, give that Creatue an awesome, permanent+2/+0 boost for some additional damage AND in case it would be destroyed or in the highly rare occasion that the Creatue Rancor is attached to will fall victim to some untargeted destruction effects or would be sacrificed due to an opponent’s card, Rancor will return straight to your hand to be cast for really cheap time and time again, pretty much haunting your opponent throughout the whole game. IF you are lucky enough to draw Rancor when needed that is. But to decrease the luck factor to some extent, I decided to include a backup plan for giving your Creatures  the quite crucial trample  abiltiy: Primal Rage. This is an enchantment that comes at a highly affordable cost of 1G and gives ALL your Creatures for as long as it remains on the field, which should come in quite hand. Hence, two copies added to the deck as backup for Rancor!

Now lastly, let us get into why I am running all Basic Forests for lands and why Birds of Paradise are my prefered choice when it comes to turn 1 mana accelerators. The key to all of that is one awesome enchantment, which has a huge potential to turn ANY of your Creatures into a gargantuan killing machine, even our lowly (but lovely 😉 ) Birds. Behold:

Well, if you look at our Creature list above, you will realize just how powerful and devastating Blanchwood Armor can be for your opponent. Let us consider the worst case (for your opponent) or most powerful combination as well as the least but still awesome one.

For instance if on your fifth turn, you have dropped a forst each turn so far, have a kickass Dungrove Elder out which is, all by itself, a mighty 5/5 Hexproof beast (or Treefolk actually :P) by that time. Then just slam a Rancor for G on it followed up by the ominous Blachnwood Armor for another 2G. This means for your poor opponent that they now have to face and deal with an insane 12/10 Hexproof Tramper ready to swing in for some massive damage, bount to grow even lager in consecutive turns as you keep dropping Forests! THAT is, in my humble opinion, quite some force to be reckoned with!

Now if we look at the lesser evil, the slighty less nasty but still meancing case: Think about BoP and why I would be very  much in favor of running those if available (they got A LOT cheaper money wise over the last years but a playset is still at around 25 USD…. the deck would work with Mana Elves instead of Birds too just for the record). Birds fly, so, depending on the kind of deck you are playing against, they will be more or less hard to block. Sure they have a base Power of 0 but just you imagine what a Blachwood Armor (or two!!) would do to your lowly Bird!? Sure it is a bit risky to use your powerful Blanchwood Armor on the vulnerable Birds and you would be losing 2 cards if your opponent has some pinpoint Creature removal handy, but in some situations Birds + Blanchwood Armor could spell Victory for you!  And if you want to be on the safe side and use your precious Armor on a similarly hard to block but well protected Hexproof Creature, there is always the option of attaching the Armor to also cheap Silhana Ledgewalker:

On a closing note, I’d like to justify the inclusion of a playset of four Harrow: First off I wanted some land searcher to give additional “Forest Power” to Dungrove Elder and/or any Creature enchanted with Blanchwood Armor. I opted for Harrow as the land tutor of choice as, while he nets you only one additional land/Forest as you have to sac a land upon playing Harrow BUT what makes me want to add it to the mix is the fact that Harrow puts the two lands into play untapped! This fits the mana curve of this deck here perfectly. If you managed to do a turn 1 BoP, you can Harrow on turn 2 and then have still two untapped Forests available for casting either Bassara Tower Acher or Silhanan Ledgewalker, and that whilst netting you an additional Forest in the process. That is my reasoning for running 4 Harrow in the deck!

Oh, lest I forget: Here is a card that would be perfect for a possible sideboard OR may be worth considerng to run main deck if the meta warrants it. Take a look:

And really the last thing I want to share about this deck: A card which I absolutely love for reasons of it being a crap rare that does an amazing job in drawing cards in the right kind of deck, and especially because it is a green card and green is not exactly known as THE color for potent, quality card draw. I am talking about..

I mean, come on, you only need say a Troll Ascetic with Rancor attached or just a lonely Dungrove Elder and cast Soul’s Majesty on turn 5 to replenish your hand drawing 5 cards for a mere 5 mana. Not to think of how big the card draw would be with Blanchwood Armor involved!!! Take that, blue and black – the “traditional” card draw colors. In comparison, nowadays you get 2 cards out of a blue Sorcery at a standard cost of 2U for example… I guess it would be well worth considering taking out just two Creatures (it would hurt but maybe one Gladecover Scout and 1 Bassara Tower Archer) in favor of swapping in 2 copies of Soul’s Majesty to open up the possibility of massive card draw!

So much for my approach to a Modern Monogreen Hexproof Beatdown Deck!! Man I got the itch to give this one a proper testing some time soon rally badly now…. glad I already own most of the cards needed to assemble the deck! 😉


OK dear readers, Aldi my friend. This was my analysis of your deck idea and my demonstration of how I would in fact make two more or less fun and powerful, more focused decks out of your original approach. Again I think the idea of your proto decklist you kindly sent to me and which I showcased initially is not half bad and has potential. However I would streamline it a bit still, even if you want to stick with your not-too-shabby original concept and stratetgy. You don’t need to “obey my command” here (or anywhere else for that matter lol) as the above was simply me spilling out ideas and suggestions what I would do if I were you haha. I see it more as a mental exercise in Magic deckbuilding and strategy. If you would need my advice and input on how to streamline your original deck idea, I’d be always happy to assist of course!

And to you all out there , dear readers and fellow friends of MtG, I will propose to take a look at any of your decks you would want me to analyze and provide some input and feedback for as, and I mentioned it before, I LOVE doing the “Deck Doctor” thing – and because I am generally nice person always happy to help even a stranger in need wherever and whenever I can.

So if you got a “patient” (a deck that needs some improvement) for me, please don’t hesitate and email me at

andreas.propst31@gmail.com

and your request will be answered in a timely manner and I will do a similar blog post as the ones I did for my friend Aldi for yoru as well – with your kind permission as a matter of course! The offer stands indefinitely by the way! 😀

I will be very much looking forward to any submissions! So yeah, bring it on you guys!!! 😀 😀

Until next time and, as always to you all out there:

HAPPY GAMING!!

Yours truly,

Andi

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s