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By: Flippers_Giraffe, Simon Smith
Dec 16 2014 12:00pm
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Welcome back to another episode of Flippers Corner. It took slightly longer than expected due to being too busy at work recently to get much time on MTGO for play testing my new decks but I'm now happy with them and thought it was time for another article.

My last article was just before Khans of Tarkir went online and I was really looking forwards to a new set but sadly I don't think it added much for casual players. There are a few exceptions but when you have been playing as long as I have (since Revised) you see lots of cards that are just recycled ideas from previous sets with little tweaks to see if they can be made to play better. 

Of course there are always good cards in every set otherwise Wizards wouldn't be doing a very good job, for this article though I won’t be concentrating on those, maybe next time. For this article I'm going to be mainly focusing on casual decks under the Vintage flag. As the prices are very low at the moment it’s a good idea to pick up Vintage Masters cards if you like the format. A lot of the dual lands like Savannah, Badlands, Plateau, Scrubland and Taiga are all around the $2.50 mark which is a bargain considering how useful they are, especially as the matching sacrifice lands are currently in Khans.

For our first deck this week I choose a nice simple green enchantment which got my mind thinking when I came across it by accident browsing MTGO Traders one day, while I was looking for some inspiration for decks for this article. I was after something different and fun and ended up with a rare enchantment from Avacyn Restored Wild Defiance. Whenever a creature you control is targeted by an instant or sorcery spell it gets +3/+3 until end of turn, basically it’s like a Giant Growth effect on a stick!

Now it's time to look at which spells we are going to use to trigger its effect, we are looking for value for mana spells here so they need to effect multiple creatures so we gain the greatest benefit from Wild Defiance. First I looked at instant spells as these will heavily work in our favour as a surprise attack to take out our opponent or to give us an edge when being blocked, The card which most appealed to me was Reap What is Sown as it targets three creatures. Then onto the Sorceries we have Thrive which acts as our basic trigger spell as it's the easiest to cast followed by Blessings of Nature which really acts as a trump card as you can cast it for one mana if you draw it from your deck during the game. 

Of course we are going to need some creatures to stomp our opponents with. The first at the small end of the scale is Wild Nacatl who loves the original dual lands, she becomes a large threat very quickly. The second is from the same block another Naya creature Woolly Thoctar. By using duals and fetch lands there won't be any issues with having all three colour types by turn three even turn two sometimes if you draw a Mox.

The next creature is our first two drop Burning-Tree Emissary who gives back a  and  mana. Usually this provides us with the mana to cast our second two drop Bramblewood Paragon. Bramblewood Paragon is a key card in the deck not only does it boost our already excellent Wild Nacatl but it gives all our creatures that already have a +1/+1 counter the trample ability. This makes our creatures unstoppable wrecking trains due to the size they will be when they hit your opponent in the face. The last main creature in the deck is Master of the Wild Hunt when he starts pumping out wolves things start to get silly as you overwhelm your opponent.

I've also included a few removal spells as well as sometimes you need an extra edge if you get off to a bad start. The first is Oblivion Ring mainly to deal with indestructible creatures and planeswalkers. Then we have Naya Charm, its third ability to tap all our opponents creatures always turns out to be a game winner. Lastly there is a single Lightning Bolt for a nice surprise blast when required.

Of course the deck wouldn't stand a chance without the right mana. I've included Mox Emerald and Mox Ruby to help push our creatures out quicker and two fetch lands Windswept Heath and Wooded Foothills to give us more control over which dual lands need to be played and when. Another land which I included which helps Wild Defiance is Turntimber Grove I've only included one though as the drawback is it comes into play tapped so we don't really want to have it in our starting hand.

Here's the final deck in my new layout  

    Creatures     Artifacts 
Bramblewood Paragon  1  Mox Emerald
3 Burning-Tree Emissary  Mox Ruby
1 Gelatinous Genesis    
Master of the Wild Hunt    Land
Wild Nacatl 1 Mountain
Woolly Thoctar  1 Plains
    2 Plateau
  Spells 1 Raging Ravine
Blessings of Nature 4 Savannah
Lightning Bolt 4 Taiga
2 Naya Charm 1 Turntimber Grove
3 Oblivion Ring 4 Windswept Heath
3 Reap What is Sown Wooded Foothills
Wild Defiance    

A change of speed for the next deck I have for you today relying on spells more than creatures, our goal is to win by zombie power. The main card the deck is based around is Army of the Damned. It has a really high mana cost but for that we get a whole bunch of brain eating undead. You can also cast it again with flashback if thirteen zombies aren't enough for your plans for global domination.

So now we need to train you in the art of Necromancy, eight mana isn't easy to come by before you're reduced to a pile of ash. Yes we have a few ways of bringing our zombies out quicker. So lets have a look at what we have. On the mana ramp side we have the classic Dark Ritual and then we dip into green for Sylvan Caryatid and then on the artifact side we have Sol Ring and Mana Vault .


Then we take a step backwards instead of casting the spells from our hand we are also going to include a way to cast them from our graveyard as well. An interesting way to put cards into ours and our opponents graveyard is Shared Trauma and then we can use Songs of the Damned as another source of mana ramp.

Of course things never go exactly to plan so a few more options are included to really make the deck perform well. Yawgmoth's Will lets us replay cards from our graveyard including Dark Rituals. Eternal Witness acts as another way of using any spells that have gone into our graveyard along with Regrowth. I also included Down/Dirty as well as it lets us return a card from our graveyard to our hand via Dirty and also has a bonus side with Down which is a discard spell, which comes in handy late game when our opponent has just a few cards left in hand.  

Knowing that we have at some point dumped a load of cards in our opponents graveyard we need a way to neutralise them in case we are helping their deck mechanic. For this I've included a few Tormod's Crypts and Yixlid Jailer. We also have a few Grasp of Darkness as a form of spot of removal.


To help the deck perform that extra mile we need some tutors as well. The best tutor black mana can buy is Demonic Tutor followed a close second by Vampiric Tutor and then we have Diabolic Intent to finish off the list. I would normally have included Imperial Seal but its currently increased a lot in price since I last had my version so won't be picking one up for a while yet.

We finish off the deck with a few interesting lands Lake of the Dead as an extra source for mana ramp. Mishra's Factory in case we do need a blocker in the early game. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to help our non swamp lands make black mana and Woodland Cemetery again to help channel green mana into black or the other way round.

The end result looks like this, I found the deck so versatile being able to play from your hand or the graveyard at any time.

 photo Army.jpg

    Creatures     Artifacts 
Deathrite Shaman  1 Mana Vault
2 Eternal Witness Mox Emerald
4 Sylvan Caryatid 1 Sol Ring
Yixlid Jailer 2 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Trepanation Blade
3 Army of the Damned    Lands
Dark Ritual 5 Forest
1 Demonic Tutor 2 Lake of the Dead
Diabolic Intent 2 Mishra's Factory
2 Down/Dirty 8 Swamp
2 Grasp of Darkness 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Regrowth Woodland Cemetery
3 Shared Trauma    
Songs of the Damned    
Vampiric Tutor    
Yawgmoth's Will    


Now we move on to the final deck I have for you in this article, this is the deck I've had the most fun with recently. It does contain quite a bit of power but isn't broken in any way. This deck wasn't built around a card like the previous decks more around a concept. I wanted a really really fast creature deck with quite a few nasty surprises along the way. Something that would stand out and be fun to play.

And so I looked at various creatures that would help fulfil my idea. The first and most important thing I considered was creatures with haste. As soon as you cast them they are going to be raging at the bit to get across the table for blood. The first of these is Boggart Ram-Gang followed closely by Bloodbraid Elf. Then I took a step back and considered which two drops to include. The one I tested with and actually made it into the deck is Bloodcrazed Neonate, she's a lovely little vampire but if you leave her alone she will go on a feeding frenzy gaining an additional +1/+1 every time she connects with your opponents throat.

The second card I tested for the role of a two drop was Radha, Heir to Keld, I thought she was going to be really good but it turned out she didn't fit the role and I ended up replacing her with a number of different cards to see which came out the best. In a strange turn of events all the replacement cards performed quite well and ended up staying in as one of. So this added the following to the deck Ash Zealot who has haste and punishes players who cast cards from their graveyard. Burning-Tree Emissary, Burning-Tree Shaman who punishes players who activate non mana abilities and a basic Rip-Clan Crasher.

Then we have lots of burn to keep you warm on cold nights Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt and Incinerate, I must admit when I first started playing this deck I kept getting mixed up as the art work for Chain Lightning and Lightning Bolt are so similar at a quick glance.

There is always a flaw in this type of deck though which is the risk of running out of power too early on before your opponent is defeated. For this we introduce some time manipulation spells Time Walk, Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune all of which should see you opponent to the grave. Time Walk needs no introduction you gain an extra turn to send in your guys in for the kill. Timetwister and Time Walk both act as hand refreshers giving you another seven cards which nearly always consists of something with haste and a number of burn spells, I've not seen many players live past that. There's an extra bonus which the Bloodbraid Elf brings with her which is her cascade ability, if you cascade into one of these spells things are going to get very nasty.

The mana is very important in this deck of which we have the Mox's helping in the early game along with Wooded Foothills to help us into a Taiga or Tropical Island when required, without Wooded Foothills the deck just wouldn't function.

The final card in the deck that I want to mention is Xenagos, God of Revels, just in his enchantment form he really helps to give a nasty surprise when you draw a haste creature in the late game doubling its power. When your devotion is on, which is quite quickly in this deck you have another nice beater as well.

And now I present the final deck list of the article

 photo cascading.jpg

    Creatures     Artifacts 
Ash Zealot  1  Mox Diamond
4 Bloodbraid Elf  Mox Emerald
4 Bloodcrazed Neonate 1  Mox Ruby
Boggart Ram-Gang    
Burning-Tree Emissary   Land
Burning-Tree Shaman  10 Mountain
1 Eternal Witness 4 Taiga
1 Rip-Clan Crasher 4 Tropical Island
    4 Wooded Foothills
4 Chain Lightning    
4 Incinerate    
4 Lightning Bolt    
Time Walk    
1 Wheel of Fortune     
2 Xenagos, God of Revels     

That's all from me for now I hope you enjoy the decks that I brought to you in this article, the next ones are forming as I type this.

There's loads of events happing over the next few weeks on MTGO over the Christmas period, you can check them out here

I'll be back in the New Year, have a good Christmas all.




Hey Flips great to see you by Paul Leicht at Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:35
Paul Leicht's picture

Hey Flips great to see you back and writing again. Hope your holidays are awesome. :D

Cheers Paul its good to be by Flippers_Giraffe at Tue, 12/16/2014 - 13:03
Flippers_Giraffe's picture

Cheers Paul its good to be back.