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Oct 12 2008 5:58am
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Explorations #2 - So Long Time Spiral

Steve Gargolinski

Goodbye Old Friend

As most of you are well aware, Shards of Alara rotates into MTGO Standard in just a couple of weeks.  It's always exciting to see new options enter the card pool, but this is a sad one for me since it means that Time Spiral block will be leaving Standard.

I played with these...
Black Lotus
Ancestral Recall
Juzam Djinn

...And I played with these.
Lotus Bloom
Ancestral Vision
Plague Sliver

I won't mince any words:  I absolutely loved Time Spiral.  I'm an old school player and it was great to see all of these old cards, mechanics, and characters return.  In addition to pure nostalgia, the Time Spiral block lacked a strong linear (or linears) - which is one of the best indications that I'm going to like it.  Casually competitive deck construction thrives in a linear-light environment.  Time Spiral is my personal favorite block.

And now it's leaving.  There have already been articles written about the past and future of Time Spiral block:  discussion of how the set impacted the tournament scene, which cards are going to matter moving forward in extended, etc.  I'm going to take a little bit of a different approach.  As each block rotates out I'm going to write an article or two that covers a bunch of rogue deck ideas based on cards that are about to rotate out of Standard.  This will give you one last chance to play these cards/decks while they're still legal.  Some of these are decks I've tried before and some of them are off the top of my head;
many of them are somewhat 'frozen in time' and should be treated as deck sketches.  Hopefully each one will give you something to think about. 

I like this approach for a bunch of different reasons.  First off it gives you a use for some junk-ish rares that happen to be lying around from drafts, and whatever cards you need to pick up are generally going to be fairly cheap and easy to get.  Second, this gives us a chance to look back on some cool older cards that you may not even remember.  Finally, it may be true that these decks are going to be rotating out of Standard/Block - but they're not leaving Extended or Classic any time soon.  Each of these decks can make the jump with a little bit of work, and a few of these lists might even be the focus of a future article - who knows?

Let's get started!

Gibbering Madness

Gibbering Descent
Nihilith
The Rack

The Basic Idea

Time Spiral brought back mechanics from many previous blocks, including Madness which originally showed up in the Torment set.  Gibbering Descent is a pretty cool new look at that popular mechanic - not only does it come down with madness, but it's also a madness enabler.  I'm a huge sucker for the black cards, and there's not much more that I love than a self-destructive black card that essentially combos with itself.

Gibbering Madness
Steve Gargolinski - Standard Legal
Creatures
2 Tombstalker
4 Augur of Skulls
4 Gathan Raiders
3 Nihilith
4 Stronghold Rats
3 Trespasser il-Vec
20 cards

Other Spells
4 The Rack
4 Gibbering Descent
4 Smallpox
4 Stupor
16 cards
Lands
24 Swamp
24 cards
 
Gibbering Descent

I while ago I messed around with this Gibbering Descent list.  The basic idea was to create a deck that focused on disruptive creatures that not only made my opponent discard, but acted as madness outlets for my Gibbering Descent.  This enchantment would keep my opponent's hand light, while both accelerating suspended Nihiliths into play and providing food for my Tombstalkers.  The chosen madness outlet creatures are all capable of serious damage, and they're each very difficult to block.

How to Play the Deck

Here's the ideal game plan for Gibbering Madness:

  • Disrupt your opponent’s hand early with discard.  Stupor, Augur of Skulls, Smallpox, etc.
  • Cast a spell that will let you madness out Gibbering Descent. This could be something like Smallpox, but preferably a threat like Gathan Raiders, Trespasser il-Vec, or Stronghold Rats.
  • Empty out your hand to avoid Gibbering Descent hurting you too badly (and try your best to keep it empty).
  • Finish with a combination of your evasive threats and big monsters like Nihilith and Tombstalker.

If the damage plan is not working then Gibbering Descent, the discard creatures, Stupor, Smallpox, and The Rack combine to form win condition number two.  In the late game, it's not uncommon to deal five damage per turn to your opponent with Gibbering Descent and two copies of The Rack - and that's in addition to whatever damage your creatures are sneaking through.

Evolution

There are a few different directions that the evolution of this deck can head in, but the most obvious way is to increase the number of madness-able cards in the deck. Gibbering Descent can be played out quickly through madness, but is also a great madness outlet.  Some cards to consider are Nightshade Assassin, Ichor Slick, Psychotic Episode, Dark Withering, and Big Game Hunter.

Tombstalker

 Turns, Turns, Turns

Walk the Aeons
Time Stretch
Gauntlet of Power

The Basic Idea

At regionals during Time Spiral block, Billy Moreno and Steve Sadin played a deck based on Rites of Flourishing and Walk the Aeons.  Here's the list:

It did not go well.  Mystical Teachings was an absolute force at the time, and it turns out that it isn't a great idea to give a brutal blue-black control deck an extra draw and land per turn.  Who ever would have thought?  The deck may have scrubbed out, but it looked like an absolute blast to play.  I decided to make my own version and came up with this list:

Turns, Turns, Turns
Steve Gargolinski - Standard Legal
Creatures
4 Brine Elemental
2 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
2 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
8 cards

Other Spells
3 Gauntlet of Power
2 Howling Mine
4 Mind Stone
4 Rune Snag
4 Cryptic Command
4 Ponder
3 Time Stretch
4 Walk the Aeons
28 cards
Lands
24 Island
24 cards
 
Walk the AEons

 Instead of playing green with Wall of Roots and Search for Tomorrow for mana acceleration, I decided to go with a mono blue list running Gauntlet of Power as the main accelerator.  The resulting list plays somewhat like a combo deck that basically lives and dies along with the Gauntlets of Power.  The Gauntlets (naming blue of course) are very capable of ramping you from four to ten or five to twelve mana in a single turn.  With that much mana available, Time Stretch with counter backup becomes a fairly common play.

How to Play the Deck

In the early game do your best to resolve a Howling Mine and dig deeper for the combo (Gauntlet of Power + Walk the Aeons / Time Stretch).  As a rule, do not draw cards off your Mind Stones until after you're looping through turns; this deck is hungry on mana early and needs every last point of colorless mana.  After casting your first extra turn spell, you will often be able to keep the extra turns coming.  Buyback Walk the Aeons or cast Time Stretch; just do whatever it takes to keep the turns coming.

Once you're in a turn loop, Brine Elemental is your main win condition.  Don't forget that unmorphing the Brine Elemental is an additional Time Walk in the right situations.  If you can catch your opponent tapped out and off guard, then Brine Elemental is basically Time Walk with a 5/4 (or 6/5) beater attached.  Feel free to pass the turn in order to draw into more gas.

Howling Mine helps out a lot to keep this turn loop going.  It's much easier to draw into an extra turn regularly when you're pulling in two, three, or four cards per turn.  Once you're looping turns, then Teferi effectively locks your opponent completely out of the game.  Both of these cards are very nice to have in play while casting Time Stretch and Walk the Aeons, but not required (depending on your current hand, the matchup, and the game state).

Vesuvan Shapeshifter completes the Pickle lock (alongside Brine Elemental) and landing this should almost always win the game.  Gauntlet of Power keeps you with plenty of mana to play your business spells, and it's really just hard to lose with infinite turns.

Evolution

There are a few cards to think about if you decide to move this list into Classic or Extended; unfortunately, most of the alternate 'extra turn' spells are inferior to the ones avalable in Standard.  Beacon of Tomorrows doesn't seem better than Walk the Aeons or Time Stretch to me in this deck, but I could be wrong.  Temporal Manipulation just came out in Master's Edition 2, but only costs one less than Walk the Aeons and doesn't have the buyback option.  These are all of the 'take an extra turn' spells that I can think of, and none of them seem like particularly good options for our deck.

Fortunately, playing this deck in Extended opens up a whole bunch of solid counter and draw options.  Some cards that seem worthy of consideration are Counterspell (rotating out soon), Remand, Force Spike, Condescend, Deep Analysis, and Fact or Fiction.

Punisher

Browbeat
Book Burning
Breaking Point

The Basic Idea

These cards are awful, right?  Browbeat sees some pretty heavy casual play, but similar cards have been big misses - and are the subject of plenty of ridicule.  Everyone knows that cards that let your opponent have a choice of effects (also known as the "punisher" mechanic) are mostly terrible.  At the Magic Invitational in 2007, Craig Jones ended up playing a terrible deck for the Auction of the People that used many cards of the style, "your opponent chooses one".  Take a look at this sweet deck:

Choose Your Own Destiny
Craig Jones - Invitational Legal
Creatures
1 Kaervek the Merciless
1 Longhorn Firebeast
1 Menacing Ogre
4 Ogre Marauder
2 Prowling Pangolin
4 Shivan Wumpus
1 Insolence
14 cards

Other Spells
1 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed
1 Yuan Shao, the Indecisive
1 Ashnod's Cylix
4 Breaking Point
1 Curse of the Cabal
4 Dash Hopes
1 Fatal Lore
1 Game of Chaos
1 Hissing Miasma
1 Jinxed Choker
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Temporal Extortion
1 Unnatural Hunger
1 Vedalken Orrery
1 Worms of the Earth
1 Zombify
22 cards
Lands
2 Everglades
7 Mountain
2 Quicksand
4 Rakdos Carnarium
9 Swamp
24 cards
 
Ogre Marauder

This deck is obviously all over the place, pretty much by design since it comes from the Invitational.  Two of the cards used are from Time Spiral, and I'm going to focus on them specifically for my next deck:

Dash Hopes
Temporal Extortion

Dash Hopes and Temporal Extortion are fairly powerful as far as punisher cards go.  Counterspell is good, right?  So is Time Walk.  Doing five damage to your opponent is pretty sweet, isn't it?  So is making them pay half of their life.  So why are these cards generally regarded as trash?  The problem is that your opponent chooses the mode of the card, which means that depending on the game state they will always choose the option that gives them the best chance of winning.  How do we overcome this?

Temporal Hopes
Steve Gargolinski - Standard Legal
Creatures
4 Dauthi Slayer
4 Prickly Boggart
2 Nether Traitor
4 Oona's Prowler
4 Shriekmaw
4 Stromgald Crusader
22 cards

Other Spells
3 Loxodon Warhammer
4 Bitterblossom
4 Dash Hopes
3 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Temporal Extortion
16 cards
Lands
22 Swamp
22 cards
 
Dash Hopes

The core of this deck is efficient beaters with evasion - traditional suicide black-ish creatures.  In some way it's similar to the Gibbering Madness deck discussed above.  Instead of including a discard theme, this deck is focused on a low mana curve and pure offense.  Every creature has some sort of evasion, with Loxodon Warhammer providing significant reach and life gain amongst a horde of tough-to-block monsters.

The strategy here is to put a bunch of evasive damage on the board which forces your opponent to make difficult decisions regarding his life total.  Dash Hopes and Temporal Extortion both become much more powerful when your opponent doesn't have a choice about whether to pay the life or not.  This helps to tilt the power of your punisher cards into your favor.  If things go well for this deck, both Dash Hopes and Temporal Extortion turn into "Target opponent loses the game, unless they choose to lose the game".  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
 
 

How to Play the Deck

Come out of the gates blazing with as much firepower as you can get together.  Attack every turn, and do whatever you can to run down your opponent's life total.  Most of your creatures have evasion, but use Shriekmaw to clear out anything that still gets in your way.  Do whatever you can to bring your opponent's life total down to a level where they don't have much of a choice about whether or not to pay the life for Dash Hopes or Temporal Extortion.  Keep swinging and use your punisher cards to seal the deal.

If the game goes long with this deck, our strategy revolves around Bitterblossom (and other threats) swinging Loxodon Warhammer.  Four or eight points of lifelinked, evasive trample damage is tough for most decks to keep up with.  Use Tendrils of Corruption or Shriekmaw to clear out creatures that seem to be in danger of racing you, and just keep on swinging.

One cool nuance of punisher cards is that it forces your opponent into making a bunch of your decisions.  If you're playing against Jon Finkel, then he's pretty much always going to make the right choice - but if you're playing against a donkey then the more decisions you put them to, the more mistakes they will typically make.

Dauthi Slayer

Evolution

If we decide to move this deck into Extended, then a whole bunch of options open up to us as far as suicide black cards go.  Dark Confidant provides card advantage, Umezawa's Jitte replaces Loxodon Warhammer as the best offensive equipment choice.  Can you imagine Bitterblossom tokens messing around with Umezawa's Jitte?  Sweet!

Nantuko Shade is currently available in Extended, and a great addition to this deck.  The Shade is extremely powerful and gives you a sink for your mana in the late game.  I'm sure he would be right at home in this deck.  There's also various removal that might work well in our list:  Innocent Blood, Slaughter Pact, and Smother are probably worth taking a look at.

New Necro

Phyrexian Etchings
Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
Graveborn Muse

The Basic Idea

Necropotence is one card that helped teach us all that drawing a card is worth much more than a single pointof life. That card is gone forever never to return (unless you play a singleton in Vintage or are still clinging to Ice Age block), but there are some Necropotence wannabes that I’m going to try building a deck around: Graveborn Muse and Phyrexian Etchings.  For reference, here’s a classic Necroptence deck: 

Necropotence
Steve Gargolinski - Old School Standard Legal
Creatures
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Order of the Ebon Hand
3 Sengir Vampire
11 cards

Other Spells
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Ivory Tower
4 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Zuran Orb
2 Ihsan's Shade
3 Necropotence
4 Dark Ritual
2 Demonic Consultation
3 Drain Life
4 Hymn To Tourach
25 cards
Lands
17 Swamp
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Strip Mine
25 cards
 
Necropotence

What are the major components of this deck? Why did Necropotence brutalize the tournament scene for such a long time?

Hymn to Tourach
  • An absolutely ridiculous card-drawing engine. Necropotence doesn't take a back seat to any other strategy when it comes to card advantage. Playing against a resolved Necropotence is one of the most difficult situations a magician can be in.  For those of you who have never had the 'pleasure' of being on the other side of the table from Necropotence, here’s what it’s like: Pretend that your opponent gets to draw three cards at the end of their turn, every single turn. If they want four then they get to draw four cards, or even five if that's how many they want.  You still just get to draw just your one.  That's pretty much what it's like.
  • Life gain to fuel Necropotence. Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb, and Drain Life all enable huge card advantage when cards are as cheap as one life point each.
  • Dark Ritual. Enables turn one Necropotence, allows a seven card hand to regularly empty, powers up Drain Life - fast mana seriously increases the power level of this deck.
  • Fantastic disruption. Hymn to Tourach and Strip Mine are two of the most efficient ways ever printed to disrupt your opponent’s game plan.
  • Cheap, efficient creatures. Order of the Ebon Hand and Hypnotic Specter can often be cast in bunches with Dark Ritual after a turn fueled by Necropotence.
  • Reset button.  Nevinyrral’s Disk is one of the most fantastic board sweepers that has ever been printed. When you’ve got Necropotence to rebuild, there’s almost no downside at all.
  • Tough finishers. Sengir Vampire might seem like an average creature - but it’s a total beater following up Nevinyrral’s Disk. The real standout creature here is Ihsan’s Shade - there’s more to that Legend than meets the eye. He’s a black creature with five toughness and protection from black. Swords to Plowshares, Incinerate, Lightning Bolt, and most of the common removal of the day couldn’t get the job done on the Ihsan’s Shade. Wrath of God gets him, so do some creatures, a huge Fireball gets him, and he’ll die to two Lightning Bolts - but that’s about it.

 Cards available for a ‘Necro’ deck today are nowhere near as powerful as the ones mentioned above, and there are a few compromises that are going to have to be made for this New Necro deck, but I think that we should end up with a fun list. Here’s a list of the closest equivalent cards that I can find in standard these days:

Sengir Vampire

Old School New School
Necropotence Phyrexian Etchings, Graveborn Muse
Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb, Drain Life Soul Spike, Consume Spirit, Tendrils of Corruption, Loxodon Warhammer
Dark Ritual Coldsteel Heart, Mind Stone
Nevinyrral’s Disk Damnation
Hypnotic Specter Still around!
Order of the Ebon Hand Stromgald Crusader, Oona’s Prowler, Dauthi Slayer
Sengir Vampire, Ishan’s Shade Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
Demonic Consultation Diabolic Tutor
Hymn to Tourach Stupor
Mishra’s Factory Mutavault
Strip Mine ???

 

Damnation

A lot of these comparisons are really stretching it, but it’s the best we currently have to work with. I’m going to try to make a list that uses modern day equivalents to recreate the spirit of the old mono-black Necro decks.  Of course there are some concessions that need to be made. Classic Necropotence is capable of turn one: Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Hymn to Tourach, Necropotence, draw five cards. No cards in Standard today are capable of that devastating draw (and might not be ever again) - so I’ve decided to go for more of a control build.

New Necro
Steve Gargolinski - Standard Legal
Creatures
4 Graveborn Muse
2 Shriekmaw
4 Stromgald Crusader
4 Korlash, Heir to Blackblade
14 cards

Other Spells
4 Coldsteel Heart
4 Phyrexian Etchings
4 Soul Spike
4 Consume Spirit
4 Damnation
20 cards
Lands
16 Swamp
2 Molten Slagheap
4 Mutavault
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
24 cards
Phyrexian Etchings

How to Play the Deck

The major difference between this deck and Classic Necropotence is the level of explosiveness. The curve of this deck is fairly high, so it’s running twenty-four lands and four Coldsteel Hearts. Tendrils of Corruption is a spell that I’d like to fit in this list, but I chose Soul Spike and Consume Spirit because they are capable of being used as finishers.

Soul Spike has the additional benefit of being able to be cast with it's alternate cost, which helps when you've got a hand full of cards and not much available mana.  Korlash's Grandeur ability can also help here, allowing you to accelerate by two or four lands after drawing cards for a few turns.  Dark Ritual got the job done in the old days, but pitch spells and Grandeur is the best we can do right now.

The game plan:

  • Try to accelerate early with Coldsteel Heart into Phyrexian Etchings or Graveborn Muse.
  • Use this card advantage for three things:
    • Control the red zone with Damnation, Consume Spirit, and Soul Spike.
    • Play many threats quickly - Stromgald Crusader, Korlash, Shriekmaw.
    • Continue to accelerate your mana with Coldsteel Heart, Korlash’s Gradeur ability, and by charging up Molten Slagheap.
  • Finish off the game with your creature threats or a huge Consume Spirit/Soul Spike combination.

Evolution

Keeping this deck in Standard, there are some cards I would definitely consider working into this list.  The first card to think about is Gauntlet of Power, since New Necro is so mana hungry.  Drawing some extra cards off of Phyrexian Etchings and then reloading with Gauntlet of Power to extend your next Etchings is potentially a strong play - but seems like an awful lot of work.  Corrupt might also just be better than Consume Spirit, but not if you decide to run Gauntlet of Power.

The real problem with moving this deck into Extended is that Phyrexian Etchings is trumped basically completely by Phyrexian Arena.  The Arena doesn't require you to wait until the end of your turn to get a card, is a bit easier to cast, and doesn't tie up your mana.  They both do damage to you, but in different ways.  The Arena is just head and shoulders a better card.

Maybe we should think about Etchings in a different way?  One cool idea that I had is to combo Phyrexian Etchings with Puca's Mischief.  The Mischief is the only card on MTGO that I was able to find to Donate an enchantment to your opponent.  Wouldn't it be cool to draw a whole bunch of cards and then give your opponent a Phyrexian Etchings with five counters that he can't pay for?  Illusions of Grandeur anyone?  Trix 2.0?  You don't gain twenty life in the middle of this combo, but you sure draw a bunch of cards!

Colfenor's Plans is another card to think about for this deck.  Strip out seven lands when you cast Colfenor's Plans and then use Puca's Mischief to Donate the enchantment to your opponent.  He'll skip his draw step forever, be limited to one spell per turn, and have to figure out a way to win with what he has plus the top seven cards of your deck.  What are the odds of him getting his own Puca's Mischief?  Seems like a fun deck.

The Cold Shoulder

The Basics

Time Spiral isn't the only thing rotating out this autumn - Coldsnap is also leaving Standard.  I've never really understood the hate towards Coldsnap.  I agree that the whole 'found a lost set of cards from Ice Age' angle was lame, and the set overall might have been a little bit underpowered - but it had it's fair share of tournament-worthy cards:

Scrying Sheets
Rite of Flame

 More than you thought, huh?  For a small set, that's not bad at all!  Here's one sweet card that I left off of the list above:

Tamanoa

Tamanoa is somewhat of a precursor to the three mana shard cycle in shards of Alara, right at home in the Naya world.  This card has a funky ability that encourages us to play with as many non-creature sources of damage as possible.  Here's a deck that I played for a while just after Lorwyn was released:

Manabarbsanoa
Steve Gargolinski - Standard Legal
Creatures
4 Birds of Paradise
3 Magus of the Tabernacle
4 Tamanoa
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Wall of Roots
4 Windborn Muse
3 Brion Stoutarm
25 cards

Other Spells
3 Coalition Relic
4 Manabarbs
4 Pyroclasm
11 cards
Lands
3 Forest
2 Mountain
1 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Brushland
4 Karplusan Forest
2 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Crag
2 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Meadow
24 cards
 
Tamanoa

 

Coalition Relic

The basic gameplan here revolves around the sweet combo of Tamanoa and Manabarbs.  Tamanoa gives you life every time that a noncreature source deals damage.  Well Manabarbs deals pretty much constant damage to both players, which brings in a steady strem of life.  This deck doesn't have much of a trouble running twelve painlands, since Tamanoa offsets their downside.

How to Play the Deck

Here's the basic gameplan:

  • Cast out Tamanoa as early as possible.  Ideally we're talking about turn one Brushland and Birds of Paradise, turn two Tamanoa.
  • Assemble your defense.  Windborn Muse and Magus of the Tabernacle tie up huge chunks of your opponent's mana while stunting their development.  Wall of Roots plays ground defense and also accelerates your mana.  Don't forget that the Magus also has SIX toughness, not much gets through that.
  • Drop Manabarbs.  At this point, Magus of the Tabernackle and Windborn Muse will be causing your opponent serious problems while your Tamanoa gains you life the whole time.
  • At this point, your opponent will likely be well on his way to killing himself.  Windborn Muse, Brion Stoutarm, and Tarmogoyf can speed up the process.
  • If you're having trouble winning the game through the red zone for whatever reason, Brion Stoutarm's Fling ability adds significant reach.

Every creature in this deck survives Pyroclasm, except for Birds of Paradise and a crippled Wall of Roots.  If you can, wait until Tamanoa is online to stabilize with Pyroclasm, since this can cause a huge life swing.  If you have three or more Tamanoa in play, then tap all of your painlands for mana at the end of your opponent's turn.  The life gained from the Tamanoas will offset all of the 'pain' from your lands (including mana burn), and you'll actually end up with a life profit.

Windborn Muse
Magus of the Tabernacle
Every aggro player's worst nightmare

Evolution

Here's a look at moving this list into Extended.  Overabundance is the best reason to do so.  This card does everything that we want, and makes a nice compliment to Manabarbs for only three mana.  It's hard to say which one is better.  Overabundance is definitely better in every game where the extra mana doesn't win the game for your opponent, but a bunch of testing is needed to figure out just how often that is.

How about something like this?

Extended Manabarbsanoa
Steve Gargolinski - Extended Legal
Creatures
3 Firemane Angel
3 Loxodon Hierarch
4 Tamanoa
1 Brion Stoutarm
11 cards

Other Spells
2 Coalition Relic
3 Sun Droplet
3 Manabarbs
3 Overabundance
3 Searing Meditation
4 Pyroclasm
4 Char
4 Lightning Helix
26 cards
Lands
3 Rugged Prairie
2 Fire-Lit Thicket
2 Wooded Bastion
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Brushland
4 City of Brass
4 Karplusan Forest
23 cards
Manabarbs

This deck adds some other pretty sweet Extended tech.  I've given up the defensive 'Windborn Muse + Magus of the Tabernackle' plan for something with much scarier creatures - Firemane Angel and Loxodon HierarchSearing Meditation combos with all of the lifegain for some serious potential damage, triggered each turn by Firemane Angel, Sun Droplet, and Tamanoa/Manabarbs or Tamanoa/Overabundance action.  Char and Lightning Helix can either control the board or go straight to the face, depending on who's the beatdown in any given matchup.  Firemane Angel extends the long game capabilities of any control deck significantly.

Remember the Painland trick above with triple Tamanoa?  It's even more powerful in this list.  Sun Droplet adds another way to reclaim life, and has the side effect of triggering Searing Meditation.  Mana burn has never felt so good.

There's definitely a bunch of tweaking that needs to happen with this deck, but I like where it's headed.

That's All For Now

Writing this article just reaffirmed how much I'm going to miss Time Spiral.  I really loved playing with a lot of these cards, and I'm sad to see them go.  Hopefully these deck sketches give you some neat decks to try out before the rotation and also a bunch of cool ideas to develop moving forward.  Here's hoping for Time Spiral 2 somewhere down the line.

I didn't realize until just now that 3 of these 5 decks are mono-black.  I am partial to the black cards, but I'll definitely be more diverse next time.

Thanks for reading!

Steve Gargolinski
spgmtgo@gmail.com

5 Comments

by Anonymous(Unregistered) 139.80.102.204 (not verified) at Fri, 10/17/2008 - 22:27
Anonymous(Unregistered) 139.80.102.204's picture

No Overabundance in Extended any more! :)

As long as we are talking Legacy, Powerstone Minefield is also very handy and keeps down the small folk.

whoops by whiffy penguin at Tue, 10/14/2008 - 09:34
whiffy penguin's picture

sorry about that i could of sworn it was banned there. My bad.

necro by whiffy penguin at Mon, 10/13/2008 - 16:36
whiffy penguin's picture

The Basic Idea

Necropotence is one card that helped teach us all that drawing a card is worth much more than a single pointof life. That card is gone forever never to return (unless you play a singleton in Vintage or are still clinging to Ice Age block), but there are some Necropotence wannabes that I’m going to try building a deck around: Graveborn Muse and Phyrexian Etchings.  For reference, here’s a classic Necroptence deck: 

There are a few things wrong with this statement.

1 Necro is in med 2 and avaialabe at 4x.
2 necro is banned in ice age block.

re: necro by spg at Mon, 10/13/2008 - 20:19
spg's picture

whiffy penguin:

Yep, you're right that Necro is available in ME2 and can be used in classic - I was looking at things from a Standard/Extended viewpoint, but I should definitely have more clear.

But Necro is definitely NOT banned in Ice Age block, believe it or not.

Legal In Prismatic, Tribal Wars Classic, Online Classic, Singleton, Ice Age Block

Yay Time Spiral by Katastrophe at Sun, 10/12/2008 - 20:24
Katastrophe's picture

Time Spiral is the block that got me back into Magic. I quit, entirely by accident, after Apocalypse. I noticed one day that I had stopped playing. But then when I saw Enduring Renewal and Stormbind come back, it was like I had timeshifted back in.

I was scouring SoA for Donate effects, but no luck. Abusing the Plans is my favorite part of the article. I hope that deck works out someday.