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By: JustSin, Dave
Jul 12 2012 7:45am
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Gap Filler

As you might have figured out by now there was a bit of a gap with a missed week in my articles.  Hopefully last week's article explained things, but the simple answer is that I had submitted my lifegain article late and it didn't get up in time for the week.  As such you're going to get two weeks in a row with our look at competitive Pauper since the week without that would usually come in between got skipped.  This also means that while I talked about a look at MonoBlack in Pauper as my next article that is going to get put off until next week.  It is going to have quite a few decks and I don't want it to get too long.  This week, however, I'm going to easily fill the gap with a look at another deck that features some of the newer mechanics we've encountered.

The Competitive Corner

So you lucky people you, welcome to the second week in a row of Competitive Corner.  Thanks to a bit of a mistake in my timing we've had to bypass a week and jump ahead, but no worries because I've kept everything in line as far as our competitive report is concerned.  There are a lot of cool things to mention this week so I'm going to just jump right in!

Daily Events Results 6/25 - 7/8

Part of me feels like everything is right in the world once again.  This week we see DelverBlue making its big come back and taking over the #1 spot after a five week run by Storm.  The fact that Storm had held such a high position for so long was something of a mystery to me because it is a deck that is far from new to the format and there are a number of quality answers in each color and for each deck to try and even the match-up.  While DelverBlue isn't miles ahead of the #2 deck as it used to be, the fact that it is back on top makes me feel more comfortable with the state of the game.  However, I don't really think that DelverBlue moving up to the top spot would be the big story for the week.  I think the more impressive move here was the showing by MonoWhite Aggro, which was able to take the #2 spot.  This is the highest showing from MWA over the past 15 weeks that I've been tracking the meta and only the second time it has breached the top three.  With the full list of M13 cards being spoiled I see big things for MWA in the upcoming weeks and wouldn't be surprised to see it become a regular contender in our top 3.  This was mostly made possible by the drop off from IzzetPost, which barely finds itself in our Top 5.  All that aside I feel this week was a pretty awesome showing for how even tiers can be within a format.  We have a pretty nice balance between our control/aggro/combo decks as well as no deck being so completely ahead of the rest.

Also quick congratulations goes out to Teachings Control, which has made its first appearance off of the "rogue" list!  This week's worth of showings from Teachings Control has been a testament to netdecking.  Unlike Tortured, where the high number of showings came from only two players, we did have a number of different players running the same Teachings list shortly after it made a 4 - 0 finish in one of the Daily Events.  As a whole, Teachings accounted for a total of 5 undefeated showings, which becomes only the second week of coverage where it had an undefeated showing and the other time it did, it only had one.  Please do not get me wrong on this, I love Teachings control, but I find it amusing that the list has not really changed and yet it has only become played once it went undefeated in an event.

Let's take a look at the trends...

The first question I'll pose, in an effort to keep this information as useful/interesting as possible, is whether or not it should stay limited to 6 weeks.  It was originally done in order to keep things from getting too messy with the number of decks that are being charted.  Feel free to let me know in the comments.  We had a few dramatic drops this week; the most obvious is going to be Storm as a result of its no longer holding control of the #1 spot.  If you look at the trend line from start to finish the variation of most is pretty steady.  Things like MUC and DelverBlue have been pretty steady (outside of a large spike in the third week).  Goblins continues to hold a steady decline with it falling to the Rogue section along with MUC this week.  We are also seeing a continued decrease in IzzetPost showings and Stompy has continued its second week of decline as well.

Here are the undefeated decks...

Now if you've been paying attention here you might notice some significant changes here.  Well the reason for this was pretty simple.... bad math.  I never claimed to understand how you get 4 from 2 plus 2, but bottom line is I realized there was an error in my formula and therefore some decks have fallen off our list.  This does actually modernize this a bit as an effective way to show what decks have the best chance at showing 4 - 0.

Here are our rogue decks from the past week...

1. MUC - 4 (1, 2, 3)
2. DimirPost - 4 (1)
3. DimirTrinket - 4 (1)
4. WeeFiend Aggro - 4 (1)
5. Goblins - 2
6. EnchantStorm - 2
7. Elves - 2
8. FissureStorm - 1
9. JunkPost - 1
10. RebelPost - 1
11. Slivers - 1
12. DamnRats - 1
13. AzTrinket - 1
14. Turbo Fog - 1

What a huge week this was for rogue decks!  We had a total of 30 showings from rogue decks, which is only one away from our #1 deck, DelverBlue.  More importantly we've added two new names to our list of winning decks.  The first I have labeled as AzTrinket (though might be better classified as Cogs?), which can be found at the end of the list here as ran by TheBestDuh.  The deck focused on an aggressive UW blink/counter/aggro shell that uses Trinket Mage to fetch out familiar faces like Bonesplitter as well as Court Homunculus.  I'll be honest as say I had no idea what to classify this as because it does have a blink package as well as decent control off of Counterspells and Spellstutter Sprites, but at the same time is running 26 creatures.  Quite the build.  The other new face on our list I've titled as Turbo Fog.  As a Pauper version of this annoying deck, xlightning_angelx, has created a Fog package that brings in Moment's Peace and Respite to stall while Jace's Erasure decks out his opponent.  A warning to Pauper players who play in the "Casual" areas, this will be something you're going to run into quite often as players see the list and are eager to play it against others.

Another big upswing for the rogues is the six different, undefeated showings that they managed.  We had some big showings from DimirTrinket, DimirPost, MUC, and even WeeFiend Aggro.  As always click the links next to the name in order to check out the undefeated player.  We also saw things like Goblins and MUC, two decks that are usually far from the level of rogue status, falling down with sad showings.  The only silver lining that could be obtained from MUC's four showings is the fact that three of those were undefeated wins and that they were only one win away from being safely away from the rogue designation... so close and yet....   The only thing I need to mention is our JunkPost deck for the week.  This week's JunkPost deck is brought to you by MnashAsp and uses a mostly green heavy mana base in order to create excessive amount of mana through not only Cloudposts, but Elves as well in order to bring out a Kaervek's Torch win.

If you read my articles on a regular basis then you'll be familiar with the deck that I'm going to talk about this week.  This is a deck I had worked on myself and had played against several times.  With the recent release of AVR we've completed Innistrad Block, which gave us a few new spell mechanics.  Eager to get into playing with the new cards I took a look at soulbond last week with a UG deck.  This week I'm going to further look at Innistrad mechanics with a look at morbid and undying.  As I mentioned before I had talked briefly about this and it is a deck that has been picked up by casual players and built in many different forms.  For those who aren't aware of what these mechanics are here's the short version...

Morbid - A spell with morbid is changed into having a more powerful ability if a creature died on the turn it was played.

Undying - A creature ability that allows a creature with this ability to come back into play once killed with a +1/+1 counter on it as long as it didn't already have a +1/+1 counter on it when it died.

These two abilities have a lot of potential for synergy because both rely on wanting creatures to die.  In the case of morbid you want creatures to die so that a spell is more powerful and in the case of undying you want a creature to die so it gets more powerful.  As you might expect the morbid cards come to us basically in black and green (with the only exception being Brimstone Volley in red).  The undying cards also stay pretty well in those colors with the additions of blue for Stormbound Geist and red for Nearheath Stalker so it seems pretty obvious that you want to stick to these colors.

When starting to put together this deck the first thing I wanted to add was the two best morbid creatures...

Festerhide Boar Ulvenwald Bear

These two creatures can quickly become beasts, especially with the boar who can get up to 5/5 with morbid.  The trick is being able to force the morbid ability and creating opportunities where you're able to make the morbid ability happen on your terms.  It becomes almost essential especially when you're working with cards like creatures that can only be cast at sorcery speed.  Part of the power of Brimstone Volley is the fact that it is an instant and can be used when you chump blocked for example, but when you have something like Festerhide Boar, more often than not you're going to need to find ways to get rid of creatures yourself.  This often will mean more play during the second main phases because one of the easiest ways to achieve this is through suicide attacking in combat, but once your opponent realizes what you're playing and how your deck works then they will be looking to avoid that situation, making it more complicated for you to find ways to initialize morbid.  Here's how I'm going to try and make this happen...

Altar's ReapFume Spitter

Altar's Reap is a great way to draw cards, but it has always fallen short to something like Sign in Blood, which has a drawback that is easier to deal with.  As a black mage we're more comfortable with losing life than we are with sacrificing creatures because we often run a bunch of weenies that are only there for their discard ability (yea I'm looking at you Ravenous Rats).  Where this card gains strength is in the fact that it has great synergy with both morbid and undying as well as the fact that the one colorless in the mana cost makes it friendlier for a deck that adds a color outside of black.  Fume Spitter is a great creature that has seen a lot of competitive play thanks to its strength against Infect decks.  What this grants us is not only the early game one drop/creature control option, but it also provides us with a creature that we can kill whenever we need to.  A quick note, if the Fume Spitter is the only creature on the board than you can still use its ability by targeting itself.

In addition to these cards, I knew there were a few additional morbid/undying cards that were a must for this deck such as Hunger of the Howlpack and Tragic Slip.  Filling in the remainder of the cards was a bit of a harder choice.  I knew that there was going to be a full set of Phyrexian Ragers because they are the best that black has to offer in the way of card draw on a stick and the two colorless mana required in its cost just make it that much easier to get into play.  The one addition that I toiled over was the reanimation spell.  With all of these creatures dying it was easy to see that the deck had to at least have some form of reanimation spell.  What I settled on in the end was this....


Unearth is a spell that not only allows you to reanimate creatures, but it present an opportunity for extra card draw as well (though rarely do I find myself ever in a situation where I want to cycle it).  I had originally played around with a use of Undying Evil alone and in addition to the use of Unearth.  The problem with the use of Undying Evil is something I'll probably end up saying over and over again and that is the fact that undying is only effective with a creature that does not have a +1/+1 counter already on it.  With Hunger of the Howlpack and our morbid creatures, most of our creatures were already going to have that counter on them, which makes Undying Evil and undying less effective.  This lead me to the use of only Unearth, which has plenty of potential to reanimate important creatures like Phyrexian Ragers and more importantly Fume Spitters.

Here's how the rest of the deck turned out...

BG Morbid/Undying
A Deck By: JustSin
4 Festerhide Boar
4 Fume Spitter
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Ulvenwald Bear
4 Young Wolf
20 cards

Other Spells
3 Altar's Reap
3 Diabolic Edict
3 Hunger of the Howlpack
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
3 Tragic Slip
3 Unearth
17 cards
2 Barren Moor
3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
9 Swamp
2 Tranquil Thicket
23 cards
Ulvenwald Bear

The use of Sylvok Lifestaff came about as a result of many games where I just needed a few extra life points in order to hold up and possibly win.  This works well with Fume Spitters since you, once again, get the ability to dictate when you gain life.  The extra +1/+0 doesn't hurt either since it will make that mid-game 1/1 Young Wolf into something a little more annoying.  The only other thing I want to mention here is the mana base.  You might look at those lands and think they're looking a bit funky, but there is method behind my madness.  When playing the deck I found many times where I had more lands then I wanted so I decided to bring in four of the cycling lands in order to give me a chance to get rid of some of that extra land.  To compliment these I also decided to bring in a single copy of Golgari Rot Farm, which gives you the ability to return one of these cycling lands that you may have been forced into playing during the early game.  I also kept my Evolving Wilds down to three because there was already a large part of the deck's mana-base that was going to come into play tapped.  While the deck is a mid-game aggro deck, it still doesn't want to waste time waiting for lands to untap so spells can be played.

As always feel free to check out the video coverage where you might find something I said, but didn't type!

Example Game 1
Playing Against: BurnPost
Video Link: Click Here!

Opening Hand:
SwampTragic SlipUnearthAltar's ReapTranquil ThicketAltar's ReapSwamp

This is a great starting hand, but it is important to start by playing Swamps with hopes of drawing into a Forest so you don't have to play the Tranquil Thicket.  I start of my second turn with a Sylvok Lifestaff and cycling the Tranquil Thicket that I had drawn a turn earlier, while my opponent gets a fast start off a Glimmerpost and Cloudpost.  I'm stuck with a bit of an off hand, having mostly non-creature spells until turn six where I get a Phyrexian Rager into play.  As I attempt to equip the Sylvok Lifestaff my opponent kills it off with his Pyrite Spellbomb.  This is followed up by a surprising amount of cards drawn off of Ichor Wellspring, Chromatic Sphere, and Chromatic Star.  My second attempt at Phyrexian Rager off of Unearth plus Sylvok Lifestaff results in death by Lightning Bolt, which I use as an excuse to cast an Altar's Reap.  Eventually my opponent finds his answer for a second draw off of Ichor Wellspring by casting Artillerize.  Further burn ensues with the use of Scrapyard Salvo, but I felt O-K in stabilizing my board state thanks to a Ulvenwald Bear that is equipped with Sylvok Lifestaff.  Unfortunately I did not expect the Rolling Thunder that quickly finishes me off.

Example Game 2
Playing Against: MonoWhite Aggro
Video Link: Click Here!

Opening Hand:
Sylvok LifestaffFume SpitterTragic SlipForestForestSwampFume Spitter

Another decent opening hand, having three lands and both colors as well as a few early game plays.  Things get off to a fast start as I use a Fume Spitter to remove my opponent's Gideon's Lawkeeper and continue to be non-stop as my opponent's Leonin Skyhunter gets sacrificed to my Diabolic Edict.  My opponent then follows up with a Doomed Traveler that I want to avoid killing due to my lack of anti-air.  This is followed up by a Perilous Myr that I also don't want to block with my, now equipped, Fume Spitter.  A bit of a stalemate ensues as my opponent drops a Loyal Cathar against my Phyrexian Ragers, second Fume Spitter, and Young Wolf.  I eventually man up into swinging, leaving the board state with a now flipped Loyal Cathar against my Phyrexian Rager and Young Wolf.  On the following turn my opponent puts out a Suture Priest that I quickly remove with Tragic Slip in order to avoid the life loss that triggers when I play creatures.  A few turns later, after killing another Doomed Traveler, I'm able to put down a Ulvenwald Bear as a 4/4, which will dominate the board for the time being.  Things slow down again as my opponent gets down his own Sylvok Lifestaff.  Despite a misplay the game is far out of my opponent's reach and he decides to concede.

Example Game 3
Playing Against: Grixis Control
Video Link: Click Here!

Opening Hand:
Evolving WildsForestSwampEvolving WildsEvolving WildsTragic SlipSwamp

This is an opening hand that I would never recommend keeping, but I decided to take the chance based upon the fact that I was on the play and it was a casual game.  The first few turns are composed of me using Evolving Wilds to fetch out lands while my opponent also builds up his mana.  I get an early Fume Spitter, but don't sacrifice it out to pump an Ulvenwald Bear because I was hoping for a boar and guessing that my opponent would be a bit creature light.  Early creatures continue with a Young Wolf while my opponent finishes off my Fume Spitter with a Steamcore Weird.  I use a Diabolic Edict to kill off the weird and finally put that now 4/4 bear into play.  When I attack with my bear on the following turn my opponent attempts to kill it off with Lightning Bolt and Staggershock.  In response I use Tragic Slip to kill my Young Wolf so that I can pump the bear to 7/7 using Hunger of the Howlpack.  During the second main phase I put out a Phyrexian Rager and correctly asses my odds, leaving a single Forest untapped and drawing a Young Wolf.  The following turn the Staggershock comes back to finish off my 2/2 Young Wolf, but even the Agony Warp won't keep my 7/7 bear from being able to finish off my opponent.

I don't want to waste a lot of time this week going on about different options available to you for changing this deck, but I will offer two suggestions.  The first is that Festerhide Boar can easily be dropped to three copies as opposed to four since its four casting cost can be a bit heavy and often it is the factor that draws the deck into being a mid/late game deck.  The final thought that I'll offer you is that when building a similar deck make sure to keep the number of non-creature spells down to a minimum.  The list as I am currently running it is probably the most non-creature spells that I would run in this type of deck because there are occasions where you have a hand without creatures and no plays.  The deck would probably benefit from at least two more creatures.

So next week we're going to get back on track and so you'll see the article featuring a look at several options for the black mage in Pauper.  I've got lots of things already in the works and finally a bit of free time this month.  I'm hoping this will result in at least two videos for my Building Posts series (one is already up!) on YouTube so subscribe if you haven't already!  Also you might catch the second part of my Budget Mechanics series!  W00t!


Great Again by TheBizzar at Thu, 07/12/2012 - 15:53
TheBizzar's picture

Can you tell I am catching up on some reading? Good again. Would you be willing to share some options (free if possible) on recording online games?

theres a bunch of options at by JustSin at Thu, 07/12/2012 - 17:27
JustSin's picture

theres a bunch of options at downloads.net or whatever and search like video recorder