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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Sep 08 2015 11:00am
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Today's stupendous contest: Using this article's comment section, submit a casual decklist featuring 4 Magosi, the Waterveil for anything other than an infinite combo. To the creator of my favorite deck will go four... foil... Magosi... the Waterveils. The winner will be chosen and announced on Saturday.

And congratulations to Dawwy, the winner of last week's contest!


 Living Wish  Golden Wish  Cunning Wish

Death Wish  Burning Wish

Yeah! Remember these? They saw tournament play back in the day, sometimes to increase consistency, sometimes to enable combos, sometimes to find silver bullets from a toolbox sideboard. They have uses in the fun room too, though. And with four of the five costing under $2 each, there's no reason not to give them a try!  (As for Cunning Wish, which is over $10... I kind of wish I had bought a playset three years ago when they were still $2 as well. Then again, they have dropped six dollars in the last two months, so who knows what the future holds!)

Let's break 'em down one at a time. Of course the first thing to look at putting in your sideboard are cards that complement your deck's strategy.  (If you're trying to cast both Hunted Troll and Izzet Staticaster, put 3x of each in your deck and 1x of each in your sideboard.)

The next thing to look for is what I'll be focusing most of the article on: situational cards. You know, cards that are helpful some games but you don't want to draw in every game. I'll list all I can think of, but I'm sure I'm missing a few, so please comment with your own suggestions!

 

1. Burning Wish

Burning Wish

This is my favorite Wish of the five. Very cheap, very versatile! The best situational sorceries from each color include:

RED

Quenchable Fire  Last Chance  Swirling Sandstorm

GREEN

Pulse of the Tangle  Tropical Storm  Stomp and Howl

WHITE

Timely Reinforcements  Feudkiller's Verdict  Evangelize

BLUE

Spelltwine  Fade Away  Juxtapose

BLACK

Hex  Deathmark  Ashen Powder

MULTICOLORED

Pure/Simple  Decimate  Void

 

So what does this all look like in practice?

"Do I have to make an entirely new deck to use Burning Wish in?" you ask.

"No," I reply! "You can use it to improve an existing deck of yours." For example, here's a deck I wrote about back in 2012, featuring a stunning lack of Wishes:

Antiquated, Buffoonish Avatar of Fury Deck
Nary a Sideboard Toolbox in Sight
Creatures
4 Veteran Explorer
4 Tinder Wall
4 Hired Giant
4 Avatar of Fury
2 Protean Hydra
18 cards

Other Spells
2 O-Naginata
2 Avoid Fate
2 Lightning Greaves
2 Winter Orb
4 Pyroclasm
2 Toil to Renown
2 Acidic Soil
3 New Frontiers
19 cards
Lands
12 Forest
11 Mountain
23 cards
 
Avatar of Fury

 

It's good enough. It gives the opponents lands before dropping a cheap Avatar of Fury. Clever idea. Thank you, Cotton. You're welcome. But it could certainly be improved if we gave it some more resilience and versatility. Here's that same deck updated to have a Burning Wish toolbox (changes are highlighted).

Swift, Cosmopolitan Avatar of Fury Deck
Very Toolboxful
Creatures
4 Veteran Explorer
4 Tinder Wall
4 Hired Giant
4 Avatar of Fury
2 Protean Hydra
18 cards

Other Spells
2 O-Naginata
2 Avoid Fate
4 Burning Wish (+4)
2 Lightning Greaves
2 Winter Orb
2 Pyroclasm (-2)
1 Toil to Renown (-1)
1 Acidic Soil (-1)
3 New Frontiers
19 cards
Lands
12 Forest
11 Mountain
23 cards

Avatar of Fury

 

See? Easy. Try it today!

 

2. Death Wish

This one won't be nearly as thorough. Basically the story is this. Death Wish is comparable to Doomsday or Infernal Contract, not only for CMC and payment of life, but in application as well.  Probably if you're casting it, you're planning on winning the game very soon after. Its best role is as a combo enabler, and it's not even great at that, frankly.

If your deck benefits from Death Wish, you probably already know it and don't need my help. Just put 1x of your combo pieces in your sideboard, basically.

Death Wish  Doomsday  Infernal Contract

 

3. Living Wish

Living Wish

My #2 favorite Wish! It's the only other two-mana Wish besides Red's, and it's just as versatile. Here are some of its best friends.

GREEN

Spectral Force  Ayumi, the Last Visitor  Avatar of Might

WHITE

Marsh Threader  Marble Titan  Preacher

BLUE

Rootwater Matriarch  Seasinger  Empress Galina

BLACK

Dunerider Outlaw  Avatar of Woe  Spike Cannibal

RED

Spinal Villain  Adamaro, First to Desire  Avatar of Fury

MULTICOLORED

Zombie Outlander  Notion Thief  Kulrath Knight

LAND

Desert  Island of Wak-Wak  Ice Floe

 

Once again, here is a before/after decklist comparison to show you a Wish sideboard in action. The first deck is a Sorrow's Path engine. It has ways to make the Sorrow's Path tap at will (Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Abundant Growth, Chromatic Lantern), and then a bunch of creatures who benefit from having damage dealt to them (see decklist). For Cotton historians, this deck was featured March 2014.

Outdated, Slovenly Sorrow's Path Deck
It doesn't even have any Wishes
Creatures
4 Wall of Hope
3 High Priest of Penance
4 Swans of Bryn Argoll
4 Spitemare
4 Phytohydra
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Abundant Growth
1 Mirri's Guile
3 Crop Rotation
3 Pyroclasm
1 Orzhov Charm
1 Golgari Charm
1 Mortify
1 Putrefy
2 Chromatic Lantern
17 cards
Lands
4 Sorrow's Path
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
19 assorted duals etc.
24 cards
 
Sorrow's Path

 

As the designer cleverly intuited, consistency is important in a deck built around a single card. His solution was to add 3 Crop Rotations. I think we can do better though! Let's start by swapping those out for 4 Living Wishes, and then seeing how the deck evolves. Once again, changes are highlighted.

Hip, With-It Sorrow's Path Deck
Very Wishful

Creatures
4 Wall of Hope
3 High Priest of Penance
3 Swans of Bryn Argoll (-1)
3 Spitemare (-1)
1 Deep-Slumber Titan (+1)
3
Phytohydra (-1)
17 cards

Other Spells
4 Abundant Growth
1 Mirri's Guile
4 Living Wish (+4)
3 Pyroclasm
1 Orzhov Charm
1 Golgari Charm
2 Mortify (+1)
2 Putrefy  (+1)
2 Chromatic Lantern
20 cards

(-3 Crop Rotation)

Lands
3 Sorrow's Path (-1)
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
19 assorted duals etc.
23 cards

Sorrow's Path

 

See the difference? Changing many of the deck's 4-ofs to 3-ofs frees up some slots, allowing us to run more maindeck removal. It also reduces the number of duplicates we'll draw (one Sorrow's Path is really enough, and it's rare for anyone in the casual room to run land destruction). The sideboard features not only those cards, but some entirely new ones. Some are additional Sorrow's Path combos (Stuffy Doll, Protean Hydra), and others are just good situational cards already mentioned in the above lists.

 

4. Golden Wish

This is another one I won't cover too deeply, except to say: don't use it.  It costs five mana, and yes there are many wonderful targets to acquire with it, but it's simply not worth it. I would love to be able to conjure up the Circle of Protection of my choice in any given match, but I do not want to pay seven mana to get it out. Or even more to cast Engineered Plague or Wrath of Marit Lage.

Golden Wish  Ember Shot  Sivitri Scarzam
Three over-costed cards.

Last up,

 

5. Cunning Wish

Cunning Wish

The fact that it's over $10 for each means not everyone will want to play with this. But maybe you bought them in 2013 for $2 each.  Or maybe you already have them for your tournament decks. Or maybe you just have a lot of disposable income. Or maybe you don't even plan to use it ever but just want to read my article to go window shopping. In any event, I'm covering it!

It has quite a high utility. True, it costs more mana than red's or green's... but it's an instant, meaning you can do some tricky stuff with it. Like grabbing and using a False Cure while your opponent's Heroes' Reunion is still on the stack. For five mana, it's like a 14-point Lava Axe. That's also a Charm with 14 other modes!

BLUE

Blue Elemental Blast  Enchantment Alteration  Pulse of the Grid

BLACK

Urborg Justice  Misinformation  Kaervek's Spite

RED

Rack and Ruin  Soulblast  Reroute

GREEN

Reap  Rending Vines  Hail Storm

WHITE

Purge  Strip Bare  Winnow

MULTICOLORED

Fate Transfer  Dream Salvage  Memory Plunder

 

And ordinarily that would be the end of the article!  But Wizards saw it fit to expand the cycle to include a sixth card, and so too will I.  Briefly.

 

Bonus: Glittering Wish

Glittering Wish

Any multicolored card, hmmm?

Well are the ones I already mentioned above: Firespout, Flesh/Blood, Clan DefianceHull Breach, Pure/Simple, Decimate, Voidall the protection bears, Stillmoon Cavalier, Mystic EnforcerNotion Thief, Azor's Elocutors, Kulrath KnightSwerve, Fate Transfer, Dream Salvage, Memory Plunder.

And then there are the ones that are neither sorceries, creatures, nor instants: Rain of Gore, Righteous War, and Powerstone Minefield.

Rain of Gore  Righteous War  Powerstone Minefield

And now you are the master of toolboxes.

1 Comments

It's Saturday... time to by CottonRhetoric at Sat, 09/12/2015 - 05:16
CottonRhetoric's picture

It's Saturday... time to announce the winner...

The winner is... nobody! Nobody submitted a deck. I will roll this prize in with next week's.