MTG: A Kickass (??) New Modern Deck + A Legacy Experiment

Dear readers! Fellow friends and fans of the amazing Magic: the Gathering TCG!

Due to huge workload and other diversions, I haven’t been able to post anything about my favorite CCG (besides Elemental Clash of course!) in quite some time, or any post for that matter, in the more recent past. However, after testing some new, kinda experimental M:tG Decks, I felt the urge to share the results of said test-runs of a maybe more-than-decent Modern Deck on the one hand and a highly experimental and possibly very frail Legacy Format Deck (You’d consider it a powerful Casual Deck in any case….) with you, my valued readers in the form of another of my notorious “Decks ‘n Strategy” articles. So let’s get right to the matter on hand! In the following I shall at first provide you with the full card list of each deck followed by my thoughts on each deck as well as the strategy and “deck-tech” involved with each. Let me start with what I personally think COULD be quite a competitive Modern Deck. So here comes…

Andi’s NEW GWB “The Rock” (Modern Format):

Creatures…20

4 x Birds of Paradise G

4 x Noble Hierarch G

4 x Fleecemane Lion GW

4 x Loxodon Smiter 1GW

4 x Siege Rhino 1GWB

Instants…8

4 x Abrupt Decay GB

4 x Harrow 2G

Sorceries…3

3 x Maelstrom Pulse 1GB

Enchantments…4

4 x Rancor G

Planeswalkers…3

3 x  Ajani, Mentor of Heroes 3GW

Lands…22

10 x Forest

2 x  Plains

2 x Swamp

4 x Sunpetal Grove

4 x Woodland Cemetery

About the Deck:

First I want to note two things: For once, this particular deck’s cast of Creatures is quite awesome in terms of cost efficiency (speaking of Mana not of Dollars! :P). Have a look at these 3 butt-kicking guys (with the one on the right giving me the igniting spark for building this deck in the first place!):

Lion - Loxodon - Rhino Composite

So, notice something? Yeah! Each of these guys is “stronger” in terms of Power and/or Toughness than their actual converted Mana Cost. Furthermore, each of those has some more or less useful additional abilitie(s) to top that off. I remember vividly how popular Watchwolf was back in the days of the first Ravnica Block. Now Fleecemane Lion, even though you won’t be able to make him “Monstrous” in most of your games, makes the old Watchwolf obsolete, as the Lion is absolutey superior to it. Loxodon Smiter is great as well, being a 4/4 beatstick with two situationally useful additional abilities and laslty Siege Rhino has great stats for 4 Mana as well plus its effect can kill off a “near-death” opponent who managed to put up their defenses just in time, by making them lose 3 life just as a bonus to what would be quite a decent Creature even without the life gain / life loss ability. And what puzzles me most: Why the hell aren’t they more expensive? None of the above cards stands higher than $ 2.50 USD a piece. Well, good for me! 😀

Secondly I would like to point out, regarding the make-up of this deck, that I really tried to go for the best use of its Mana Curve. Your odds of having avaialable 3 Mana of various colors are quite high with a playset of Birds and Hierarchs each. Now in the very likely case you got either a Bird or a Hierarch in your starting hand, you have many options what to do on your second turn: You could just drop an uncounterable 4/4 Loxodon Smiter for once. Also, Harrow would be perfect for diversifying your mana-base and preventing mana-screw to some degree. What is great about Harrow is that you get the 2 lands into play untapped. If you searched for a Forest and a Plains you can follow up with Fleecemane Lion so you just ramped some mana AND got a 3/3 Beater on top of that. Alternatively, you could search for a Swamp and a Forest and keep them untapped to eradicate some low cost but bothersome card during your opponent’s turn by means of Abrupt Decay:

What a marvellous card! Suck this, Liliana of the Veil!!

But even if you draw neither Harrow nor Loxodon Smiter you can put your 3 mana on turn 2 to decent use. For instance you could play Fleecemane Lion and enchant it with a Rancor right after that. That will give you a 5/2 Tramper on turn 2, which isn’t too shabby either…

All in all I think this deck is a real powerhorse, with many powerful and cost-efficient cards, featuring heavy aggro elements in the form of its supreme Creatures as well as some decent control (Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse – I decided against Path to Exile, which would have been an option too, and went with the former two!), as well as a well-thought through Mana Curve. One word of caution: If you happen to have neither Bird nor Hierarch in your opening hand, draw a fresh one…. 😛

Oh and I almost forgot: Putting 3 +1/+1 Counters on your puny, flying birds (or whatever other awesome Creature you got handy, on each of your turns thanks to Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is quite an awesome thing to do too!!

OK, that’d be about all about this pretty straightforward Modern Deck creation of mine. I for one would dare bring it to the next tourney and give it a spin! 😀

On to the next deck!

But first a fair warning: I know and realize fully that the below deck would be torn to shreds by Force of Will’s, Dazes and whatnot. The list you will see next is more supposed for casual play. However I will present you with an alternative decklist that MIGHT just barely do the trick in a competitive Legacy Environment. And lastly, before I share my highly experimental deck list with you, I would like to point out that I am not the kind of MtG player who likes to win on turn 2. The following deck however, has that capability… in theory! 😉 OK here it comes already:

Andi’s Angelic Reanimator (Cheapo/Fun/Casual Version):

Creatures…7

4 x Putrid Imp B

1 x Anger 3R

1 x Iona, Shield of Emeria 6WWW

1 x Avacyn, Angel of Hope 7WWW

Instants…4

4 x Dark Ritual B

Sorceries…20

4 x Entomb B

4 x  Faithless Looting R

4 x Exhume 1B

4 x Buried Alive 2B

4 x Damnation 2BB

Enchantments…4

4 x Animate Dead 1B

Artifacts…3

3 x Nevinyrral’s Disk 4

Lands…22

13 x Swamp

9 x Mountain

About the Deck:

So yeah, as they released the “From the Vault: Angels” Special Pack, I FINALLY got myself a copy of…

…as well as the awesome…

…originally just for use in my quite kickass Kaalia of the Vast Commander /  EDH Deck. But as I held these two shiny, winged super-babes in hands, I had yet another idea… The idea of an Angelic Reanimator Deck using these two as your main weapons! Again I do realize that the deck as it stands above would be torn to shreds in a competitive Legacy Environment, even if you drew perfect hands all the time and got out either Iona or Avacyn on turn 2 (which happens quite consistantly, more consistantly as I had expected actually, after our first test runs), as everyone would be all over the Deck with Force of Will and it’s ilk and furthermore, there are approximately a hundred ways to completely get rid of Avacyn and Iona pretty easily and cheaply… Just imagine your opponent letting you discard them or countering them or rather the reanimation Spell you’d be using and then follow up with a Surgical Extraction or Extirpate etc etc. Opponents removing your Graveyard would also be a highly likely possibility to tear the deck apart fair and square. Anyways, for casual play, the deck proved to be very efficient and worked out pretty well even with the sub-par deck list above. At this point I have to note I SHOULD have 4 Bloodstained Mires (The Red/Black Fetchlands) and ideally 4 Badlands (the old, original Black-Red Duals) or at least 4 Blood Crypt (The newer, Red/Black “Shockland” Duals)  in the deck. But as this was just an experiment of mine, I went with all basic lands – the 9 Mountains I am running are simply in for the sake of making Anger work (well and for using Faithless Looting as a mean to discard Avacyn and/or Iona when stuck in your hand as well as to cycle through your deck to some extent.).

But we haven’t talked about the basic plan with this deck yet!! So it is really pretty easy, if not to say stupid… You drop Avacyn or Iona into your Graveyard through Entomb or Dark Ritual + Buried Alive (or through discarding them through Putrid Imp or Faithless Looting if they happen to be stuck in your opening hand) on turn 1. On turn 2 you would favorably cast Exhume, which costs just 1B and lets each player put any 1 of their Creatures from their Graveyards onto the battlefield. In most cases your oppoenent won’t have any Creatures there whilst you can reanimate Iona, Shield of Emeria against Mono-Color Decks (which would mean instant win pretty much) or decks that rely heavily on one color (blue would be a good choice against many common Legacy builds), or Avacyn, Angel of Hope for a less instantaneous win. There is the second option of using the obscure, old Enchantment Animate Dead on turn two if you don’t have Exhume handy.

There is a little bit more to the deck such as nasty tricks with Damnation and especially Nevinyrral’s Disk in conjunction with Avacyn. Use Damnation with Avacyn out as a one-sided Creature board sweeper and, even nastier, eradicate all opponent Creatures, Artifacts and Enchantments for a mere 1 generic Mana with the Disk. With Avacyn making everything you own indestructible, the Disk will be so too. And since they forgot (??) to include a “sacrifice this” clause on Nevinyrral’s Disk, you can activate it and it will survive to “strike again” next turn as it would survive its own mass-destruction effect.

But yeah, once again, the above deck is only sub-par and in general not fit for a competitive Legacy environment (not to speak of me not being a big fan of turn 2 wins), unless you have a ton of luck, which, of course, is not a basis for running a certain deck in a tournament.

Well, if I had some money to throw out of the window, I think I could make this one work, or at least work more consistantly in a competitive environment. Let me show you an alternative approach to how this could actually work every other game in a Legacy Tournament.

(Note: I won’t ever invest in getting 4 Polluted Mires, let alone 4 Badlands for a Deck like this I wouldn’t enjoy in particular even if it won me tourney after tourney – not that that would be very likely even with a more streamlined approach as to be seen below)

Andi’s Angelic Reanimator (Dead-Fucking-Serious Legacy Version):

Creatures…7

4 x Putrid Imp B

1 x Anger 3R

1 x Iona, Shield of Emeria 6WWW

1 x Avacyn, Angel of Hope 7WWW

Instants…8

4 x Dark Ritual B

4 x Surgical Extraction B

Sorceries…20

4 x Entomb B

4 x Duress B

4 x Cabal Therapy B

4 x Reanimate B

4 x Exhume 1B

Artifacts…7

4 x Lotus Petal 0

3 x Nevinyrral’s Disk 4

Lands…18

4 x Bloodstained Mire

4 x Blood Crypt (Or Badlands if I had a ton of money to waste…)

10 x Swamp

About the Deck:

On the one hand this deck is even faster with more mana acceleration in the form of Lotus Petal and cheaper reanimation in the form of Reanimate (the immense Life Loss coming with that one wouldn’t bother me at all) and on the other hand, it has a lot of disruptive cards, which are all cheap (mana-wise) as well, such as Cabal Therapy or Duress. Both of these are Force-of-Will-Killers and my first move when I see I am playing against a Legacy Deck with Blue would be Swamp –> Cabal Therapy for Force of Will. Also you can remove any pesky card (like, once again, Force of Will etc) from the opponent’s deck, hand and graveyard at basically no cost but 2 Life (or 1 black mana, which is a good deal as well if you can afford it) by means of Surgical Extraction.

The optimal scenario against a Deck without “Forces” would be something like this:

Turn 1: Bloodstained Mire –> Blood Crypt, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual – Produce 4 Black Mana. Play Buried Alive for Anger, Avacyn and Iona. Then use the remaining B for Reanimate to get out either Avacyn or Iona, depending on your assessment of the opponent deck, pay a fuckton of life, then attack for 6 or 7 damage…. What an opening!! 😀

Alternatively, when playing against Blue which will in most cases DO have Force of Will etc, a more secure but slower aproach. Scenario 2:

Turn 1: Swamp, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual – Produce 4 Black Mana. Use 1 of that for Cabal Therapy on FoW or Duress and make sure your opponent has nothing to stop you. 3 Black Mana Remaining. Use Entomb for 1 Black and put either Avacyn or Iona,  whichever you deem best, into your graveyard. Then either Exhume for the remaining 2 Mana OR Reanimate to bring back Iona or Avacyn. The latter will leave you with one surplus black mana. You could have used this earlier for a second Duress or a Duress followed by a Cabal Therapy. On the other hand you can just “hardcast” Surgical Extraction or pay the 2 Life to exile any bothersome card(s) you may have pulled by means of Duress and/or Cabal Therapy… So while you won’t be able to attack on your first day you will have one huge, hard to get rid off Angel in play on turn 1 that will send chills down any sane opponent’s spine. Lastly, I would like to note that all this doesn’t mean instant win. You still need to be careful for sacrifice stuff like Liliana of the Veil or a humble 1 black Mana Innocent Blood. But again, that would be something your Duresses and Cabal Therapies could deal with as well.

OK I think I have made my point by demonstrating how insanely fast you can get out your Iona or Avacyn, whichever you deem more efficient in any given matchup and would like to say in a closing note, that even with the much faster and more secure second approach to what started as a fun idea for casual play, I am still not convinced whether or not my Angelic Reanimator Deck from hell would stand a chance in a real-life, competitive Legacy environment. But I would be willing to try and find out – maybe I shoul “dust off” MTGO, which I haven’t played in a looong time, and see if I can afford to assemble the second Angelic Reanimator approach and give it a spin…

Anyways, thank you all for your time and interest in reading my latest MtG Decks & Strategy article. I hope you enjoyed it and would be thrilled if you’d leave me an educated, constructive comment on either of the above decks!

See you next time and until then, as always,

HAPPY GAMING!

Yours,

Andi