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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Aug 12 2015 12:00pm
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Fans, I have an important announcement to make. From you on I shall refer to you as Cotton Threads.

Deck 1 Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm

Well if this isn't the razzmatazzinest Johnny card.

I visited Eye of the Storm back in 2009, in my 7th ever article for this site. My thinking on it has changed a bit in the intervening years. Back then, I argued that you needed to only load it with certain types of spells, since your opponent would be using them too. I said you needed symmetrical effects (like Vision Skeins) and things that only you would benefit from (like Nightmare Incursion). But I've matured a lot since those days. I've now come to realize that, whether your opponent activates the Eye or not, you will certainly be activating it way more, so you can feel free to cram in all the one-sided spells that you want.

    Mind Sculpt

For instance, what was once Vision Skeins is now Impulse and what was once the six-mana off-color Nightmare Incursion is the two-mana on-color Mind Sculpt.  The mill strategy is about the only thing I carried over from that deck. (What other win condition would even make sense? Burn? I think we could make a more efficient burn deck than one centered around a 7-mana blue spell.) Anyway, the two lists are very different and share only three cards other than land and the Eye itself.

Another huge difference between these decks: that one was made for Vanguard, where I could get free mana with my Orcish Squatters avatar. Now I have to get it the real way! And I'm not going to wait until turn 7 to drop the Eye of the Storm, so let's add some acceleration. To keep the Eye as effective as possible, we should get it through instants or sorceries (as opposed to say, artifact mana). This means either Black for Dark Ritual, Red for Seething Song, or Green for Rampant Growth-types. And any of those could work, but I went with Green.

So we have our colors and we have our strategy: accelerate into an Eye and then drop a bunch of instants and sorceries including mill spells until we win. The question remains: what instants and sorceries should we run?

  • Removal. It's tough in blue/green, but keep in mind: any spell we cast can be recast repeatedly, sometimes 2 or 3 times per turn. So a single Unsummon can lock down a creature (or more) indefinitely. Repulse is a better option as it helps the machine to keep running. And Whelming Wave is basically a blue wrath here. Some decks literally cannot beat one of those on repeat. (I experimented around with cards like Crippling Chill and Sleep but they just didn't prove as powerful.)
  • Searching. What I'd really like is a blue Idyllic Tutor. But since there isn't one—and since seven mana is one of the very few casting costs we can't Transmute for—we'll have to content ourselves with the typical blue sift spells and repeated cantrips.
  • Life gain. This prevents our opponent from outracing us.  A single two-mana Nourish when reused even once every turn is hard to overcome. If you want to go the cantripping route, there's always Dosan's Oldest Chant, but be wary of raising your cmc's by too much, since your mana base is being pulled in a lot of different directions.
  • Mill. This is our win condition. How many to use is up to you, but in my experience, one playset is usually enough. I already mentioned Mind Sculpt. You also have the cantripping Thought Scour (a bit underwhelming) and the 1-mana Tome Scour (possibly not worth the lower cmc).
  • Ramp. My own favorite options are Nature's Lore and Explosive Vegetation, but there are SO many others out there.
  • Destruction. I didn't bother with Naturalize and such in this build, but it's not to say you should avoid them in your own.

As for what you SHOULDN'T use, situational cards. The last thing you want is to be unable to activate your Eye while you stare at a handful of Counterspells.

Here's my list! Like all of my decks, consider this to be casual and customizable.

Super Mill Extravaganza
4 Wall of Blossoms
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Tome Scour
4 Impulse
4 Mind Sculpt
3 Words of Wisdom
4 Nature's Lore
4 Nourish
3 Repulse
4 Whelming Wave
3 Explosive Vegetation
4 Eye of the Storm
34 cards
8 Forest
9 Island
4 Tropical Island
1 Temple of the False God
22 cards
Whelming Wave



Deck 2 Bulwark


Another cool card! How many red cards encourage you to play defensively like this? Even when Kamigawa's Maro cycle hit, Red got Adamaro, First to Desire instead of a regular wisdom card.

One thing to figure out is how to keep our hand big. There are self-returning creatures, like

Wall of Junk  Archwing Dragon  Goblin Heelcutter

Ovinomancer  Shard Phoenix  Stampeding Wildebeests

There are cantrips and draw spells, like

(I have just been informed that I do not need to illustrate examples of cantrips and draw spells.)

...And don't forget about Buyback, Forecast, and bounce lands. Every color can keep their hand full, even red.

The next question is, why else do we want our hand to be big? We-he-hell,

Scent of Cinder  Cinder Seer  Master the Way

Spiraling Embers  Aeon Chronicler  Venser's Journal

Whittling down the above, I landed on a red deck with a blue splash. Which brings us to the final question, what other synergies can we get going? Disrupting Scepter can help keep our opponent's hand low (important when a Bulwark is out). If we have Dash-type creatures, Ronin Warclub is the equipment of choice. Izzet Chronarch lets us reuse things without costing our hand size any. And Journeyer's Kite is fairly pro at keeping the hand size high!

Some gameplay tips:

  • Remember that you are a defensive deck. You don't need to cast your Archwing Dragon on turn four (unless there's nothing else to do with your mana).
  • This is mostly a mid- and late-game deck. Early turns can be tough, so do what you can to stymie the opponent. Don't be afraid to "waste" a Scent of Cinder on a two-toughness creature.
  • Currently there are 30 red cards, for the sake of the Scents and Cinder Seers. (The other cards are 24 land and 6 artifacts.) If you do change the contents of the list around, either keep the red count high or swap out the red-matters cards.
  • I currently have a blue splash, with all 8 blue cards being multicolored red cards. You could make the mana more consistent (and less money) by going mono-color. My rationale for expanding it was (1) Izzet Chronarch is better than Anarchist, (2) Master the Way is better than Spiraling Embers, and (3) Electrolyze is better than, um, Orcish Cannonade?

 The list:



Deck 3 Binding Agony et al.

Binding Agony  Ragged Veins  Spiteful Shadows

And if you're wondering "Does this deck really use all three of those cards?" the answer is YES.


Repercussion also exists, but it didn't make the cut because, as you'll see in a moment, they don't combine well with the creatures we want to put out and the global damage we want to run.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Why do we want to devote twelve deck slots to Binding Agony? Because they stack. If we put two on a single creature and then resolve Shivan Meteor, that's 26 damage, and that's (probably) gg. So this is a lot closer to a combo deck than what I usually make.

Shivan Meteor

That's the strongest creature damage spell outside of Unhinged, but there are plenty of other good ones. Spitebellows is a mighty six for 3 mana, and Volcanic Offering is—with the right board setup—14 for five mana.

Volcanic Offering    

We should talk about Volcanic Offering a bit.

First, it's impossible to cast unless both players have nonbasic lands in play. True. But don't worry about that, because everybody runs nonbasic lands.

E V E R Y B O D Y.

Next, I mentioned something about 14 damage. That's possible if you have the right creature of your own on the board. For instance, Mogg Maniac, Spitemare, or Stuffy Doll. Get the picture? It deals seven to our opponent's Binding Agonied creature, which goes to their dome, and seven to our Mogg Maniac, which also goes to the opponent's dome. All while taking out their (probably) Cloudpost.

Inferno works the same basic way. It's 6 instead of 7, but it also hits the player directly, so it could be 18 instead of 14. Or, even more than that if there are more than two relevant creatures in play.

Whoosh! The deck is a thrill ride. It's a little slow to set up, but keep in mind that as its combo pieces unfurl, it kills the opponent's creatures while it works. A typical play is a turn two Binding Agony into a turn three Spitebellows. We haven't won yet, but we're closer to it while also having controlled the board some. Here's my list. Don't forget to pack it high of frivolous nonbasics, for the sake of your Volcanic Offering.


See you next week!


Volcanic offering can't by AJ_Impy at Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:53
AJ_Impy's picture

Volcanic offering can't target nonbasic lands or creatures that you control. The usual course of action is for your opponent to match your target to minimize damage, but with a life loss enchant of two on the creature you choose, it may end up being a three-for-one instead. Which would be the perfect time to flash in a ragged veins.

Aha. It appears I have by CottonRhetoric at Wed, 08/12/2015 - 13:53
CottonRhetoric's picture

Aha. It appears I have misread half of Volcanic Offering.
Thank you!

IN your eye deck, you should by Rerepete at Wed, 08/12/2015 - 19:24
Rerepete's picture

IN your eye deck, you should maindeck a singleton copy of Gaea's Blessing to keep yourself from being milled.