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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Oct 19 2015 11:00am
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This has been a very long week for you. You have been anticipating the Ceta Sanctuary deck I promised last week. I know it. Well your wait is over!

Deck 1 Ceta Sanctuary

Ceta Sanctuary

What deck wants to draw and discard cards every turn? Um, basically every deck. So as long as your deck drops green and red permanents in significant quantities, it is probably a good place to sneak in Ceta Sanctuary. One of the best options is Trace of Abundance, which can be cast early on, helps your deck operate, fulfills both of the Sanctuary's color requirements singlehandedly, and (as an enchant land) is not nearly as vulnerable as a green-red creature would be.

But beyond that... you can really take your deck in whatever direction you'd like. Today's deck is centered around a card you probably weren't expecting as you spent a week pondering Ceta Sanctuary's sundry applications:

Rosheen Meanderer

He's green... he's red... he's a build-around-me card... he doesn't object to drawing and discarding... let's run with it!

Scanning through green's X spells, they are mostly about life gain and damaging fliers. In other words, they are not very good. Hurricane can be a nice finisher in a green-only deck, but in a deck with reds X spells, it isn't necessary. Rather, we'll be sticking to greens X creatures here, and there are a lot of those, especially lately. Consider:

Vastwood Hydra  Protean Hydra  Apocalypse Hydra

And these are just the ones costing under 50 cents! Budget allowing, Primordial Hydra, Lifeblood Hydra, Genesis Hydra, and Hooded Hydra are also strong.

    Flameblast Dragon

Keep in mind that Rosheen can also pay for X costs in abilities, not just casting costs. Arashi, the Sky Asunder gives us the option of killing fliers, with respectable enough stats to also accomplish something against opponents who don't have fliers.

Moving to red, the X spells are of course nearly all damage spells. (Even when they're artifact destruction spells, they're still damage spells! See Detonate and Builder's Bane.) There are currently 38 to choose from, so take your picks. See my own choices in the decklist below. Crater's Claws is my favorite in this deck, since there are so many ways to enable it (including Rosheen himself).  For abilities in red, Flameblast Dragon and Gorilla Shaman are your best bets.

Artifacts have a lot of options, but really none worth tapping your 4/4 for. Maaaaybe Steel Hellkite or Sigil of Distinction.

The rest of the deck should be green and red permanents to enable the Sanctuary (Trace of Abundance can't do it by itself!). They should be cheap, to come down early when we still need them, and they should also serve some sort of utility. Radha, Heir to Keld, Zhur-Taa Druid, and Vithian Renegades are my favorites. There are plenty of others out there though—and you don't even need to go multicolored like I'm doing! The Sanctuary is still plenty strong when it's performing Merfolk Looter numbers every turn.

Here's my list. You'll notice that blue is merely a splash color here, providing nothing beyond 4 Sanctuaries and a singleton Recall.

 

X Marks... Your Doom
 
Creatures
2 Radha, Heir to Keld
2 Zhur-Taa Druid
2 Vithian Renegades
4 Rosheen Meanderer
2 Arashi, the Sky Asunder
2 Flameblast Dragon
1 Protean Hydra
2 Vastwood Hydra
2 Apocalypse Hydra
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Trace of Abundance
2 Commune with the Gods
4 Ceta Sanctuary
1 Recall
2 Crater's Claws
1 Devil's Play
1 Rolling Thunder
2 Clan Defiance
17 cards
Lands
24 Frontier Bivouac (But really, play with whatever lands you have the budget for, whether it's guildgates or alpha duals.)
24 cards
 
Clan Defiance

 

What's cool about a card like Ceta Sanctuary is that even after you build an entire deck around it, you know there is still so much left to do with it!

 

Deck 2 Indestructibility

Darksteel Juggernaut

This deck started with a premise: what if my deck used only indestructible creatures? What could I do with them? To start with, let's list the best indestructible creatures in the game. Not the ones that gain it, and not the ones that grant it, the ones that just natively have it. Also, because I don't want this turning into an Oath deck or something, I'll exclude those with too high a CMC. In addition to the one above, we have

Darksteel Myr  Phylactery Lich  Stuffy Doll

Creepy Doll  Sapling of Colfenor  Darksteel Sentinel

The main thing I notice is an artifact theme. Most of them are artifacts, Darksteel Juggernaut benefits from artifacts, and Phylactery Lich requires an artifact. (It's just a bonus when his artifact happens to be indestructible.) Let's make artifacts our subtheme!

Now to the question, why run an indestructible army in the first place? Why, to survive global destruction spells of course. All of a sudden, Wrath of God turns into a discounted Plague Wind. Heat Stroke and Dead-Iron Sledge turn into something there's no direct analogue for. But you get the idea!

Wrath of God  Heat Stroke  Dead-Iron Sledge

You can also make use of Nevinyrral's Disk and Akroma's Vengeance depending on the rest of your build, although this deck will have too many non-indestructible, non-creature permanents to make use of those.

Now we need to analyze the deck's potential weaknesses. None of those creatures have flying (and I don't want to pay 7 for a Darksteel Gargoyle). Also, only two (the lich and the juggernaut) have decent combat stats. And vigilance would certainly be nice....

The card that best covers all of those is Serra's Embrace, and it does it so efficiently that I don't even mind it not being an artifact. (Compare it to the mana requirements of Angelic Armaments, for instance, which doesn't even grant vigilance!) Energy Chamber is a cheap way to boost up your army. Cranial Plating is strong if you're a jerk, which I'm not, so I won't be using it in the Just For Fun room.

And now you have most of the deck! Fill the rest with utility spells, like Pithing Needle, Disenchant, Darksteel Pendant, and (they never see it coming) Rebuff the Wicked. Don't forget those artifact lands, for the juggernaut's sake!

 

If there's one thing I think the deck could improve with, it's finding other outlets for the Energy Chambers—some artifacts that utilize charge counters, for instance. I couldn't find any that synergize with the deck, although I don't doubt they are out there.

 

Deck 3 Instill Energy

Instill Energy

Woooooo!!!  Instill Energy!!!  Before there was Magewright's Stone, there was Instill Energy. And in some ways, the original is still superior.

Let's get down to business. Whom do we put it on? Every color has its creatures with tap effects, but the champion by far is blue, in both quality and versatility. Here is but a sampling:

Rimewind Taskmage  Merfolk Looter  Musician  Prodigal Sorcerer

Disruptive Pitmage  Serendib Sorcerer  Reveka, Wizard Savant  Heidar, Rimewind Master

Yaaaayyyy (rolls around in my dumb blue wizards). And I didn't plan it this way, but they are all wizards, so what can we do with that? Well there are a ton of Wizard lords, and yet, none of them really fit well with a deck about repeatedly tapping creatures. And so... I actually won't be using any of them. Not even a Riptide Laboratory. The only tribal card I ended up liking enough to use was Call to the Kindred. Oh well! Probably a wasted opportunity.

    Call to the Kindred

With all of the tapping creatures in this deck (and I really do use almost every one of the above 8), we'll need more than just 4x Instill Energy. My favorite option is Thousand-Year Elixir. I've been using that card since 2009 (although 2x Musicians are the only other card this deck has in common with that one). But anyway, yes, it sets up great tricks your opponent never sees coming.

Adding some mana ramp, utility, and a few more snow cards, we have our deck! Some gameplay tips:

  • A Serendib Sorcerer by itself can negate an attacker. But paired with a Reveka, Wizard Savant (or an untapping Prodigal Sorcerer), it can actually kill a creature.
  • Don't forget to count your snow permanents. We only have snow-covered land and Boreal Druid, but that usually proves enough. We only need four! (And we're not about to start running Ronom Serpent or something, blech.)
  • Do not, under any circumstances, waste an Instill Energy on a Boreal Druid.
  • It's too bad the dual snow lands only came in ally colors, and there's no green-blue one. Combined with Boreal Druid's manufacturing of colorless you'd expect more fixing problems, but still, Into the North provides all we need. Few cards in this deck have double colored mana.
  • Prodigal Sorcerer and Zuran Spellcaster may be functionally identical, a situation in which I'd default to the original... but in this case, I'm going with Zuran, because, having come from the Ice Age expansion, he's more thematically relevant.
  • Be ready to wait 8–10 seconds after casting a Musician for your opponent to read what it does.

 

 

See you next week!