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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
May 15 2017 7:26pm
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 This photo of me might be 8 years old but I still look like this. Sure I do.

Deck 1 Permeating Mass

This is an interesting card to build around. Do note that it says "combat damage," so no Fire Whip- or Flesh/Blood-type tricks will work.

What will work, then?

Granting it first strike. It will deal its damage, turn the other creature into a 1/3, and then take only 1 damage itself, staying alive to seek another victim. Recommended are:

Knighthood Valor Sword of Vengeance Power Matrix

Note that the power boost on the above sword (or even a lowly No-Dachi) will cause the Mass to kill almost whatever it interacts with. Even an indestructible creature, who will lose indestructible when it becomes a copy! (No dice against Uncle Istvan though.)

Forcing blocks. We don't just want our 1/3 to go unblocked each turn. What about using:

Provoke  Enlarge  Invasion Plans  Irresistible Prey

Reusing it. We don't want our fragile 1/3 to die! Let's sustain it or return it with:

Broken Fall  Refresh Terrifying Presence  Orzhov Charm

Find it. How can we increase our odds of getting it out in the first place? Perhaps:

Hibernation's End  Green Sun's Zenith  Ranger of Eos  Dizzy Spell

(You can also technically fetch him with the 12-mana Iname as One, but that seems unworthy of consideration.) 

This already gives us quite a few directions to take the deck in. And here are some more:

I ended up choosing the fourth option, along with several cards from my above lists. There are so many green cards from among them, I was able to craft a mono-colored deck! Here's my list, with some commentary afterward.

Permeating Massault Formation
- 60 Cards Total
Creature
4 Permeating Mass
3 Traproot Kami
1 Scute Mob
3 Wall of Blossoms
3 Dungrove Elder
2 Reclamation Sage
1 Carven Caryatid
2 Tree of Redemption
1 Conclave Naturalists
20 cards

Instant
2 Provoke
2 Refresh
4 cards
Sorcery
1 Enlarge
2 Green Sun's Zenith
1 cards

Artifact
1 Power Matrix
1 cards
Enchantment
2 Mirri's Guile
4 Assault Formation
1 Broken Fall
1 Hibernation's End
8 cards

Land
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Terramorphic Expanse
15 Forest
23 cards
Equipment
1 Grappling Hook
1 cards
 

The singleton creatures are for the benefit of Green Sun's Zenith and Hibernation's End. It's a fair toolbox, giving us multiple ways to destroy artifacts and enchantments, and even a decent late-game threat with the low-cmc Scute Mob.

The toolboxing is further enabled by Mirri's Guile and 9 shuffle effects, but you could switch this for something else depending on your budget. (I bought the Guiles back when they were only a buck each.)

Dungrove Elders are somewhat off-theme, but we do after all want a way to be productive when an Assault Formation doesn't arrive. 

Deck 2 Bunch of Pingers

Razorfin Hunter

    Willbreaker

This deck started not with a single card but a genre of cards: pingers. What could I do with a deck that ran a lot of them?

  1. Draw cards. Curiosity and Keen Sense are strong, but eggs-in-one-baskety, so we'll also run some protection like Confound.
  2. Kill things. Death Pits of Rath is a beating. If you prefer a cantripping, nonrepeatable version, Snakeform does much the same.
  3. Steal things. If Cowardice looks effective, compare it with the much stronger AND less symmetrical Willbreaker.
  4. Ping our own guys! Deep-Slumber Titan is easy to untap this way. Maybe even High Priest of Penance or Sprouting Phytohydra? (Since it is only one damage per creature, it's not worth it to use stuff like Phytohydra. Save those for your Cinder Giant / Sorrow's Path deck! And if you don't have one of those, click here to look at mine.)
  5. Double up. Quest for Renewal seems perfect here, since we have a lot of creatures to get counters, and a lot to do with each free untap.

This is more than enough for a deck. Here's my list:

    See Beyond     Hammerheim

See Beyond is pretty important, to lessen the odds of drawing either all pingers and no combo pieces or the other way around.

And why the Hammerheim? For Willbreaker, of course! This brings the deck's count of ways to target creatures up to 15, and is at once the cheapest, easiest, and most durable method of them all. (The count is technically 18 if you count the Curiosity/Keen Sense suite, but this is unwise for all but the most dire circumstances. If the Willbreaker dies—which he does very easily—the creature switches back to the opponent's control and the aura is now a dead card.)

I rarely feel safe running a deck with no artifact or enchantment removal, and here I picked Gleeful Sabotage. The reasoning was we have a lot of cheap creatures, and it doesn't go much beyond that. Better, non-sorcery options possibly exist.

Budget allowing, you could add some Meekstones. The only reason not to is for the sake of what we steal with Willbreaker, but that's rarely a serious detriment. 

Deck 3 Exertathon

If you put a Stitcher's Graft on a creature with exert, the drawbacks aren't cumulative.

If you untap the creature or give it vigilance, the drawbacks don't exist.

I think we have our theme! Pouring through Magic's archives, there are a lot of other creatures with untap restrictions. Most of them are unplayable garbage, like Apes of Rath, Goblin Dirigible, and Jokulmorder. Some are too bad to even bring to Magic Online, such as Goblin Rock Sled and Island Fish Jasconius! But there are a few that are worthy of consideration:

Spectral Bears  Spectral Force  Walking Dream  Deep-Slumber Titan

Combined with our actual exert creatures, the Stitcher's Graft, and possibly the Vulshok Gauntlets, we have the aggressive half of our deck covered. Now to consider the best untapping options. There are universal untappers:

Awakening  Reconnaissance   Seedborn Muse

Targeted untappers:

Instill Energy  Seeker of Skybreak  Aphetto Alchemist  Thousand-Year Elixir

Or you can just give folks vigilance:

Brave the Sands  Hold the Gates

Ring of Thune  Triclopean Sight  Sword of Vengeance

My favorite of the above is Reconnaissance. You can use it as intended to give your Watchful Naga a safe passage every turn. Or you can break it a little. If you set your stops right, you can activate it after combat damage, meaning you're free to attack with an army of exerted creatures every turn, and all for a single white mana! (Apparently this interaction was removed in 2010, but has since been restored.)

I think it's time we made a list of this all. Green-white is my favorite combation, as it allows for the most tricks. (Blue and red don't offer much to this archetype besides mindless attackers, and black is strangely missing from all of the above.) 

Devoted Crop-Mate is a nice creature to use, as there are a lot of relevant 2-drops. He combos especially nicely with the GW removal card Qasali Pridemage, and the above-mentioned Reconnaissance protects him if needed.

After some fiddling, I landed on 9 untap effects: 4 Reconnaissance, 3 Always Watching, and 2 fellow exerter Ahn-Crop Champion. The curve tops off with the 5-mana Spectral Force, while we spend most of the game beating with our low-cmc threats.

Exertathon
- 60 Cards Total
Creature
4 Spectral Bears
4 Gust Walker
3 Qasali Pridemage
3 Spectral Force
2 Devoted Crop-Mate
4 Watchful Naga
2 Ahn-Crop Champion
10 cards
Enchantment
4 Reconnaissance
4 Journey to Nowhere
3 Always Watching
8 cards
Land
12 Plains
11 Forest
23 cards
Equipment
4 Stitcher's Graft
4 cards
 

See you next time, and have fun!

5 Comments

I missed you so much, by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 05/15/2017 - 14:26
Kumagoro42's picture
5

I missed you so much, Cotton!
Say, I didn't get the "asdlfkj and asdfklj" joke from the Summary, is it a mock acronym?

hahahaha ummmmthat was dummy by CottonRhetoric at Mon, 05/15/2017 - 18:56
CottonRhetoric's picture

hahahaha ummmm
that was dummy text that I forgot to replace :X

Man you could have pretended by Paul Leicht at Mon, 05/15/2017 - 20:27
Paul Leicht's picture

Man you could have pretended it had some hidden meaning and we'd have fallen for it. (Welcome back btw. Glad to see you still posting articles.)

"(You can also technically by Procrastination at Mon, 05/15/2017 - 22:47
Procrastination's picture
5

"(You can also technically fetch him with the 12-mana Iname as One, but that seems unworthy of consideration.)"

Unworthy? I'm pretty sure this is your Sistine Chapel waiting to happen...

Iname as One would need to be by AJ_Impy at Tue, 05/16/2017 - 02:13
AJ_Impy's picture

Iname as One would need to be cast from hand, and so would need an unreasonable amount of shenanigans. If you're going to build around it, sure, but that's another deck.