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By: BlippyTheSlug, Volker Kirstein
Jul 24 2014 11:00am
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Oh, The Casuality Of It All!

So I had this idea for a deck that I thought might be fun to play, using graveyard recursion critters and Smallpox. Since pox decks are usually suicidal MBC variants, naturally this deck has lots of hand disruption. As I was testing and tweaking, because I use Unhinged basic lands, and played a Turn One Inquisition of Kozilek, one opponent got all salty and accused me of trolling casual players with my "$300 deck", and told me to go to the Tourney Practice lobby.

Which kind of shocked me. Those of you that know me know I'm a broke [REDACTED].

I explained it wasn't a tourney deck, and I work hard for my bot credits. Anyway, we played it out (I won), but it got me to thinking.

For me, this is a casual deck. I very much doubt it'd place in a PE. It might 3-1 a daily with good matchups, but I think even that's iffy. I built this just to dink around in the JFF room, again.

That's where I like to play.

The basic premise of this thing is disrupting your opponents hand and manabase (Smallpox) early, tossing critters like Bloodghast and Demigod of Revenge into the graveyard, then applying little beats with Specters and Ghasts. Liliana's Specter helps with the hand disruption, and Nightveil Specter often nets me cool off color lands and spells. Lifelink with Whip of Erebos is good. Keep pinging and plop a Gary. Boom. Usually game over. Alternately, a Turn Six Demigod of Revenge with two in the graveyard is always nice.

At one point I had a singleton Groundbreaker in it for laughs; it did indeed make me giggle when I popped him out for lethal. Surprise!

So yes, it's a "mean" deck, but I believe a "casual" one.

Let's break it down.


When I'm on the play, a Turn Two Smallpox usually ruins my opponents day. Especially if he just played out a mana dork.

Think about it:

Of course, if I don't draw into lands quickly, or have them in hand, these plays can sometimes bite me in the butt.


Recursive Critters

Bloodghast is the unsung hero of this deck. Easily tossed to the pox, he comes back at the drop of a land, and my opponent is usually unwilling to do anything less than exile him because of it. Let him bolt it or decay it. Trade with that mana dork. You don't care. He's coming back. For free.

Sure, he's only a 2/1, and can't block. But he gets in so many pings, especially late game when your opponent is at 10 or less life, that I give him all-star status

Demigod of Revenge is the big flying beatstick of the deck. If you've managed to toss one or two into the graveyard, they come back for free when you cast him. It doesn't matter if the one you're casting is countered. The one(s) in the graveyard is/are still coming back.

Both of these are easy throwaways to Smallpox.



Black is notoriously deficient in noncreature removal/control. The obvious answer, for me, at least, was to splash for some uncounterable dinky boy destruction, and somewhat flexible spot removal.

Abrupt Decay is cool. The "can't be countered by spells or abilities" clause makes it one of the premiere destruction spells in its colors, and this Return To Ravnica gem will be a staple in non-rotating formats long after its departure from Standard

Putrefy, at 3CMC, takes care of the big critters, and artifacts, that Abrupt Decay can't.

Since is so neatly fitted to my needs, why not include that bad momma, the Unseen Queen!

The vast majority of the time, when I bring in Vraska the Unseen, I'm using her -3 to blow something up right off the bat. Very rarely do I find myself in a position where I can start ticking her up on the laydown.

That being said, once she does start ticking up, whether from 2 or from 5, your opponent suddenly has a new factor to throw into the equation.

When the Assassin tokens come out, which is rare, they are often the game deciders.



Black is, however, notoriously efficient in hand disruption.

Both Inquisition of Kozilek and (Thougtseize) are no-brainers. These two cards are the kinds of cards that any deck running should run. "Nuff said.

I talked last week about how the main weapon these cards provide you is information on what your opponent has planned. He's not gonna "gotcha" if you know it's coming, and can pluck key pieces out of his hand.

Disruption on Wings


In addition to the disruption spells, I have another eight disruptive beaters. Well, not really beaters. Pingers.

Liliana's Specter gets another card out of my opponents hand. Sometimes two if he removes the thing before he discards. I've seen it happen. Often.

I really don't care if my opponent uses removal on Lili's. Once it's on the field, its job is done, and anything after that is gravy.

Nightveil Specter, on the other hand, is a more insidious form of disruption. It doesn't target the cards in my opponents hand, but the card he's going to draw. And let's me play them! I love taking a crucial land drop out of play, and seeing a Mountain or Temple Garden in my manabase, with "owned by so&so" emblazoned across it.

But you know what would be even better? If we could use 'em again after they die!


Recursion and Lifegain

Between Thoughtseize, Shocklands coming in untapped, damage from my opponent, and Smallpox, my life total is often in the single digits by late game. It's nice to be able to recoup some of that.

Whip of Erebos does just that. It gives my creatures lifelink. Plus, I can reuse those dead Specters! Woo hoo!

Since I have all these cards with all this in my deck, I took a page out of Mono Black Devotion and threw in some Garys. If I make it to this point in the game, Gary usually ends it when he comes in.



Meta Madness
MTG TwitList News

PE Matchup Records

Google Docs does not like to display the entire chart. Click on it to open the actual chart in a new window.

To read the chart, simply choose the archetype you want to track in the first column, and read it across left to right to see its known results against other archetypes. The format is always W-L. I do not count "mirror matches".

Once I play catch up with two weeks of PTQ results, I'm going to include those matchups on the chart, as well. Usually, I can only pull the 1st/2nd. No one posts the brackets, just the results & decklists. Oh well. Still, the more data points, the better! Speaking of data points...

This is the chart I was talking a few weeks back, where I'm tracking the T8 results from the PEs over time. To view the complete interactive chart, simply click on this one.

Looking at this chart in the interactive view, where one can highlight (click on the colored box) and track each individual archetype, is showing me interesting things. I think. There are still entirely too few data points to even begin to tell if the things I think I'm seeing are actually things or the senile mirages of an old man. 


Random Gibberish

I guess the Spank The Slug segment went over like a lead balloon. I mean the common concept thereof, not the actual lead balloon made by Mythbusters. So I'm going to use this space to throw random gibberish at you. Be it in the form of poetry (most likely), video composition (maybe), rambling pointless stories (also likely). If you want to see something else, ask me. So there. Here we go...

Another Lonely Breakfast

Time for breakfast
Another batch of pancakes
Eaten without you 



Overdrive!, which started on July 4th, 2011, is the original Modern format Player-Run Event! In fact, Overdrive! is even older than Modern, having started out as an event in the Overextended format. Overdrive! is a single elimination event: two men enter, one man leaves. Registration is done via Gatherling. You can find more information at the main event thread here.



Overdrive! #141
Players: 8
Champion: Call1Me1Dragon / UW Gifts Tron
Runner up: Plainswalker83 / Soul Sisters
Decklists and results from all Overdrive! events can be found here.  


Call1Me1Dragon brought a UW Gifts Tron unit to the party, and went on to defeat Jund, Scapeshift, and Soul Sisters to emerge as Overdrive! #141 champion.

In the meantime, the Hat Trick Bounty remains unclaimed.
* A Hat Trick is three consecutive Overdrive! championships.

Plainswalker83 brought Rock to the fray and won against Eggs and RDW (Burn) before losing to UW Gifts Tron in the finals..

Soul Sisters
Plainswalker83, Overdrive! #141 runner-up
4 Ajani's Pridemate
4 Martyr of Sands
3 Ranger of Eos
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul's Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk
27 cards

Other Spells
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
12 cards
21 Plains
21 cards



BlippyTheSlug on MTGO
Blog: Read At Your Peril (NSFW!)



I can see where your deck is by doc_brietz at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:22
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I can see where your deck is a little much for casual play. In the comments, i would maybe say how your deck is like a tier 2 or something. Something to give the casual guy the heads up. I played a casual commander game yesterday and the guy's first 2 spells were land destruction of my basics. I conceded turn 3 as I was not playing competitive.

With that said, your casual deck is perfect against green's ramp. I wouldn't have minded playing against it, though I can see where it may come across as unfun. You could always try the tourney room just to see how it actually stacks up. You should not run into any complaining in a competitive room. I usually pull out a jank deck to try in a casual enviroment, but if I know my OP was testing a tough/mean deck, I would bear with him trying it out. I might would make that a match play just in case one of us gets off to a rocky start.

Noted. Huh. You really think by BlippyTheSlug at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:47
BlippyTheSlug's picture

Huh. You really think it's "Tier 2"? I don't see it.

It could be. I say try it out by doc_brietz at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:00
doc_brietz's picture

It could be. I say try it out for maybe 6-8 matches and report on what happens. I would love to read about a deck going from casual to competitive. Might could teach people like me how better players think and why you make whatever changes you make.

Picking the brain of a better player is how those of us who are not so good get better. That may not be in line with the articles you make, though. Maybe see if it is possible to take a card like smallpox, build around it, and make it a thing in such a tough enviroment.

EDIT: I don't know jack about what is tier 1,2,etc...I just thought the deck looks cool to pilot.

Hmm. The "traditional" way to by BlippyTheSlug at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 13:18
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Hmm. The "traditional" way to use Smallpox would be a Death Cloud type thing, with ramp. I wonder...

Again, something to think about. Since I had to liquidate my collection (again!), and am starting from scratch (again!), I'ma build a Bloodcrank deck first (it's cheap and fun). Since Bloodghast is in Bloodcrank, and most of the cards in pox (except the fetches and shocks) are cheap... Hmmm... I could revive the ol' "Monster Garage" segment, which lasted from

Px.dec by Elbinac at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 13:03
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Any pox build splashing green without having at the very least a singleton Life from the Loam just seems wrong to me.

THAT, my friend, is a very by BlippyTheSlug at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 13:08
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THAT, my friend, is a very good call. And perhaps a Ghost Quarter or two. Hmm.

You will always have people by Joe Fiorini at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 16:35
Joe Fiorini's picture

You will always have people either complain that your deck is too good or not good enough, depending if your in juff or tp.

I get a lot of, "you think you're deck is tier one?" ROFL" _______Concedes the match" When i play blue tron in the tournament practice room.

You can always send me a challenge, i won't complain when I lose. :)

But we'll call you deacon by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:04
Paul Leicht's picture

But we'll call you deacon blues.