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By: Flippers_Giraffe, Simon Smith
Jun 29 2015 12:00pm
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I've had my little break and now I'm back into the world of MTGO. Summer has just started here in the UK, we don’t get much of one but I don't expect you want to be reading my thoughts on the great English summer. I always remember when I was but a wee lad around this time of year being invited to my first tournament. I had been into Magic for a good few months, mostly collecting and playing with friends. Me and my buddy’s friend asked us if we wanted to come along to a small event his friends had organised. 

Well to say we were excited was an understatement, now you have to remember as I said this was a long time ago. The format back then that was most popular was called Type II, which would translate to your modern day Standard format. The core set was Revised and the new set was Fallen Empires which had only been out for a short while, the other set was The Dark. We didn't have any cards from The Dark and only a few Fallen Empires cards so we were mostly playing with cards from the core set. I had to look up the date Fallen Empires was released to find out how far back we are talking and its November 1994.

I remember me and my buddy play tested against each other for ages every weekend when we had the chance and then the day was there, we packed up our cards and went off into the great wide world of the magic tournament scene. I was very nervous as we didn't know anyone else but the guys who organised it were great. We ended up playing in their conservatory on what must have been one of the hottest days of the summer. It was so hot that some of our cards actually started bending.

How well did I do you may ask, well I won a single round all day, I was totally outclassed in all ways but that was to be expected, I remember being amazed at the sight of my first Maze of Ith, I remember saying "It can do what". It took me ages before I managed to get my first one of those. Times were hard back then trying to pick up out of print cards as there was no Internet and we had no real shops dealing in second hand cards, there was one but they never had much.

The reason for all my goings on about the good old days does have a purpose honest! I decided to re-build my deck for this article online as all the cards are available to see if actually still worked. The format I choose to drop into that's the closest is Legacy.

I built my deck around my favourite card at the time which was the mighty Serra Angel. She had everything a flyer that didn't tap to attack which came with a perfect 4/4 body, oh yeah she is hot! As we are in Legacy I have to drop the Sol Ring and Balance. I want to keep the idea of the deck and the cards as close as possible to the original. A few small changes are of course welcome.

First up is our one drop the rather viscous Savannah Lions, I've been getting quite a lot of noob remarks when they come down on the first turn. Poor little cats, people really do misunderstand their potential as they have shown many an opponent. Next going up to the two mana drop is the grand White Knight with his First Strike and protection from black, the guy that can't be terrored. Our second two drop is a replacement for the four cards that I couldn't remember. Going slightly off theme we have Serra Avenger who joins her older sister in battle.

The final creature of the deck is an upgrade, originally it was Northern Paladin but I decided to replace him with Pentarch Paladin as you get to choose which colour he can destroy when he comes into play, which is much more useful. The original artwork for Northern Paladin hasn't made it online as of yet.

Now the card you have probably been expecting that gives all our white creatures (and our opponents) a nice boost Crusade, the originally artwork is online along with the version from the Divine vs Demonic dual deck. I'm running Elspeth's version because well she is a bit more eye candy than the previous version, although I expect the lady's wouldn't say no to a knight in shining armour.  

Now this is where the endless insults and quitters make their point well known to me online, if this was paper you wouldn't here a peep out of them. So what's the card that causes so much hate. The dreaded Armageddon, not the Bruce Willis version. A little bit of land destruction brings so much hate it's unbelievable. I actually stopped playing the deck as it was hard enough getting a game of Legacy and then having them quit on me is rather saddening. I had thought about running the deck in the tournament practice room but it would need a few more upgrades, maybe something for a later article if there is any interest. I went with the Vintage Masters version (but both are online), mainly due to price this time round.

The removal cards in the deck are the classics Swords to Plowshares for spot removal, Wrath of God for when things are not looking so good. There's also Disenchant to deal with those pesky enchantments and artifacts. I'm only running two Wraths at present I haven't found a need for three but play testing has been a bit more limited with this deck than normal. The Vintage Masters version was a lot cheaper so again I went for that version for Swords to Plowshares and for Disenchant I already have the full art version which wins hands down. I don't think we will ever see the original Wrath of God artwork online as its not politically correct and we are never going to see Jihad which is sad as it would go really well with Painter's Servant.

This leaves us with a few more cards Blessing is the first that's an enchantment that lets you boost your creatures at the cost of a white mana, sadly I don't think we will ever see the original version of the art for this card either. Resurrection did make it online with its original artwork via the Time Spiral set. It's really quite good to be honest, you get to return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. Then we have our second card that was added in from outside of the time line which is Pearl Medallion, the card reduces the cost of white spells by one colourless mana, this means we can be casting Wrath of God, Armageddon and Serra Angel a turn early. It really helps cripple decks with fetch lands when you play a turn three Armageddon. The last card actually came from Legends but is legal in Legacy but wasn't in Type II which is Karakas, a very useful card if you’re playing against legends.

The final deck looks like this, it is still really fun to play and does surprisingly well although I've only been playing it in the Just for fun room, although most people don't think Armageddon is a fun card. It could have been worse I could have used Crucible of Worlds as well!

    Creatures     Artifacts 
Pentarch Paladin  3 Pearl Medallion
4 Savannah Lions    
4 Serra Angel   Lands
Serra Avenger 1 Karakas
White Knight 21 Plains
2 Disenchant    
2 Resurrection    
3 Swords to Plowshares    
Wrath of God    


Now we head off too Modern for the other two decks of the article. I like building decks around odd creatures while looking for something else I stumbled on the following card and picked up a playset for a rainy day. The card in question is Myr Superion, it's a 5/6 creature for only two mana, the only drawback is it can only be cast by mana produced by creatures. We could have a big threat very early on if things go to plan.

While looking for our mana producing creatures for the deck I decided to try a card that doesn't see play that often that acts as both a land and a creature Dryad Arbor. The other creatures fell into place quite nicely. Noble Hierarch is our one drop offering Exalt. Then we have two two drops Sylvan Caryatid who also acts as our early blocker and Rattleclaw Mystic who can help bring out our big cards when she unmorphs.

Of course that's a lot of mana generating creatures so we are going to need something to build up our mana to cast, but before I reveal our game winner I'll show you his helper as well who also helps our mana ramp Garruk Wildspeaker. His Planeswalker friend for this deck that he helps cast is the big bad Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. These two Planeswalkers go very well together, Garruk keeps pumping out beasts or helps cast our other larger creatures, while Ugin wreaks face usually quite literally. I've seen many players quit at the sight of the mighty dragon.

I mentioned larger creatures so let's have a look to see what we have stomping around in this deck. The main problem I had when testing this deck was stopping flyers, I kept getting run over by them. So I introduced Arbor Colossus, he's a 6/6 hitter with reach and can go monstrous destroying a creature with flying as he grows. I also added a flyer of our own Steel Hellkite which is an amazing card as well, considering it's sitting about the $0.30 mark and can be used in any colour deck I lovingly welcome it back into my collection with open arms.  

Now we have our general utility creatures Elvish Visionary for card draw. Briarpack Alpha which is a great combat trick card for both attacking and defending. I thought I was going to end up taking it out after testing but the card has proven most useful. For four mana we get a 3/3 flashing wolf that gives a creature +2/+2 until end of turn when it comes into play, I do have a Red Riding Hood for him to flash at but she's for another article. Moving on we have our tricky Acidic Slime which is super useful for destroying artifacts, enchantments and lands.

Another card which is also useful for destroying lands is Rootgrapple which gives us the option of running a semi land destruction deck from the early game due to the amount of mana we will be producing, it's also great for taking out Planeswalkers. I'm also running a few Evolution Charm's as well I think they are an underestimated card, for two mana you get the choice to search your library for a basic land and put it into your hand, return a creature from your graveyard to hand which is always useful or my favourite is to give one of your creatures flying until end of turn. As it's an instant we can cast it when we are being attacked, flying Arbor Colossus's are great fun.

I really find this deck fun to play its very fast with the mana accelerators and Garruk Wildspeaker, Ugin and the Steel Hellkites are never far behind. There were a few times when I had a few Myr Superion's in hand and no mana creatures to cast them but I've gone down to running three now which has made the deck much more stable.     

    Creatures     Planeswalkers
Acidic Slime  3 Garruk Wildspeaker
2 Arbor Colossus Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Briarpack Alpha    
Elvish Visionary   Lands
Myr Superion 3 Dryad Arbor
Noble Hierarch  20 Forest
Rattleclaw Mystic  1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood 
Reverent Hunter    
Steel Hellkite    
Sylvan Caryatid     
2 Evolution Charm    

Our final deck of the article remains in Modern this week built around another creature this time a blue and green one Fathom Mage. She starts out life as a 1/1 creature and every time she gets a +1/+1 counter you get to draw a card, she also has evolve so that will help her gain some counters but I'm going to be lending her a helping hand. So there's our theme for the deck and here's the lovely lady.

This deck is going to be a bit of a mix of colours so we are going to need some experts in generating all colours, both favourites of mine Birds of Paradise and Sylvan Caryatid. I'll also touch on the mana side now as well, the deck will be going into four colours so we are going to be running a few fetch lands and some tri lands as well Arcane Sanctum and Opulent Palace. It was quite a balancing act with which lands to pick as you can't run too many comes into play tapped lands otherwise it slows your deck down which actually gives away a turn to your opponent.

Now to look at ways of applying additional +1/+1 counter to our Fathom Mage. First is by other creatures of which the first is Daghatar the Adamant from Fate Reforged. He enters play with four +1/+1 counters and can redistribute them with his special ability. Then we have our little star of the deck Satyr Grovedancer who gets to place a +1/+1 counter on a creature when she enters play, she's great for this deck for a common card. Then we have our game winning card that makes +1/+1 counters start appearing everywhere Archangel of Thune. Whenever you gain life you get to put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control, I didn't mention she has lifelink did I! 

Now Archangel of Thune has a furry buddy as well that really complements her ability Ajani Goldmane. If you use his life gain ability while our angel is in play she triggers adding her ability to the stack if you use his +1/+1 ability all your creatures get bigger and the Fathom Mage will hand out a card. I don't think I've used his ultimate ability it's not really needed in this deck. Another manipulation card that we have is Korozda Gorgon she can take counters off creatures and give your opponents creatures -1/-1 until end of turn, she's also really useful with her deathtouch ability. I really like her card text as well "Welcome to my collection", so very fitting for a Gorgon. Another card that I'm using to add counters is Abzan Ascendancy.

The rest of the cards are Glen Elendra Archmage who is our counterspell creature, she works quite well with +1/+1 counters. Banishing Light as removal and Divination as our card draw. There's also a few lands which add +1/+1 counters that I'm running in this deck Gavony Township and Oran-Rief, the Vastwood.

Overall it's a really nice deck Archangel of Thune really does bring the pain when she's teamed up with Ajani Goldmane. The only thing it lacks sometimes is a bit of spot removal in the form of Path to Exile, I refuse to pay that much for an uncommon ($9) but I hear wizards will be bringing out a promo version soon which is why it wasn't in Modern Masters 2015, I'm still waiting Wizards.  

    Creatures     Planeswalkers
Archangel of Thune  3 Ajani Goldmane
4 Birds of Paradise    
2 Daghatar the Adamant   Lands
Fathom Mage 2 Arcane Sanctum
Glen Elendra Archmage 1 Flooded Strand
Korozda Gorgon  3 Forest
Satyr Grovedancer  1 Gavony Township
Sylvan Caryatid 1 Island
    Opulent Palace 
  Spells Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
3 Abzan Ascendancy 4 Plains
3 Banishing Light 1 Polluted Delta
3 Divination Swamp
    Watery Grave
    Windswept Heath

That's all from me for now I already have quite a few decks in testing so there won't be a big gap before the next article. 

I hope you enjoyed the article and I look forward to playing you online.



Since this was called Blast by bingobongo at Wed, 07/08/2015 - 06:40
bingobongo's picture

Since this was called Blast from the past, thought i would just pop by and say hello