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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Mar 29 2016 10:00am
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 In 2002, they made this card:

Morality Shift

An abusable effect, but its 7-mana price tag is a bit prohibitive. Only... you don't have to pay 7, because it was printed back in 1997 for only 2:

Paradigm Shift

To date, I have never seen a single person play with it. I have never even seen somebody own one (other than myself). And yet I think there's a lot we can do with it. Especially since it keeps getting more and more combos over the years. By now it's even playable—in the casual room. Will it one day be playable outside of the casual room?

Tactic 1: Faux Doomsday

Doomsday

Doomsday has proven itself to be tournament caliber. Paradigm Shift requires more setup, but with a little graveyard manipulation, it can produce similar results. Two mana isn't that much cheaper than three mana... but 1U is a lot easier than BBB. Especially since Doomsday decks are usually 4 to 5 colors. You can't get a turn-three (or earlier) insta-win with it, but you can at least set yourself up for some higher quality draws for the rest of the game.

This is probably the closest to the card's original intent. Or perhaps they meant it as a Faux Feldon's Cane? But that's unlikely, since back in 1997 we had the real Feldon's Cane, reprinted a year earlier in Chronicles, AT COMMON, for a single mana and available in every color.

Tactic 2: Graveyard Manipulation

Adding cards to our graveyard is easy, with Mental Note, Glimpse the Unthinkable, Entomb, and such.

Taking cards out of your graveyard is easy too, with Scavenging Ooze, Scrabbling Claws, and especially the Delve mechanic. At the very least, you can set yourself up to go the rest of the game without drawing lands.

Thought Scour  Tombstalker

Tactic 3: Exile Synergies

This is one area in which Paradigm Shift differs from Morality Shift: it exiles your library. That means it won't trigger your Narcomoebas or set up your flashbacks, and in fact there didn't used to have any practical applications at all for exiling your own cards, but it now essentially "draws" all of your Misthollow Griffins and Torrent Elementals!

Misthollow Griffin Torrent Elemental

Note that the above not only synergize with Paradigm Shift, they synergize with each other. We can use the cards in Tactic 2 to mill a Griffin in our yard, Delve him out of it, and then cast it without even exiling our library. (Exiling our library is still stronger, but this gives us something to do while we set up.)

Tactic 4: Hedron Alignment

Maybe? Maybe? Probably not.

Tactic 5: Since we have no library....

Paradigm Shift can keep us alive after a Leveler. Or with an empty graveyard, we can cast Paradigm Shift into Laboratory Maniac. The latter is a trick sometimes used by Doomsday decks themselves.

Tactic 6: Future Tech

Battle for Zendikar gave us a whole mechanic around taking cards out of our opponent's exile. Perhaps soon Wizards will make something similar for our own exile zone! Or, they already expand Misthollow Griffin into Torrent Elemental—perhaps there is a third of those coming. 

I don't purport to have any knowledge about or experience with tournament formats, and certainly I would not call this deck viable for one, but here is my tinkering with the above ideas for the casual room. Its choices are mostly covered above, excepting Tolarian Winds, which would fit under the first half of Tactic 2. It's card disadvantage, yes—but this is made up for by hand quality, enabling Delve, and the card advantage a Paradigm Shift gives us (probably shortly afterward).

Shift My Paradigm
(Sung to the tune of Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein")
Creatures
4 Deranged Assistant 
Misthollow Griffin 
Torrent Elemental 
3 Tombstalker
15 cards

Other Spells
4 Mental Note
4 Thought Scour
4 Paradigm Shift
4 Tolarian Winds
3 Last Gasp
3 Murderous Cut
22 cards
Lands
12 Island
11 Swamp
23 cards
 
Tolarian Winds

 

Paradigm Shift! Buy yours now before it skyrockets in price.

Nothing about this article's title, summary, or introduction indicated that other decks were coming, but it would have been pretty short if I ended it here, wouldn't it? So here's something different for ya.

 

Deck 2 Nin, the Pain Artist

Nin, the Pain Artist

This card is highly cool for some obvious reasons. There are two main ways to use it:

1. Kill opponent's stuff & punish them for drawing. Combine it with Kederekt Parasite, Chains of Mephistopheles, Psychic Possession, whatever.

Kederekt Parasite  Chains of Mephistopheles  Psychic Possession

2. Target your own guys, who appreciate the damage, and draw a bunch of cards. Here we would be looking at cards like this:

Spitemare  Deep-Slumber Titan  High Priest of Penance

Broodhatch Nantuko  Wall of Hope  Stuffy Doll

And either one of those is enough for a whole deck, but today I'll go with the second one.

After creatures who actively want damage, we should flesh out our deck with creatures who can at least tolerate the damage. In other words, creatures with 4 or 5 toughness we can throw an X=2 or X=3 at early on without killing them to draw some cards while we set up our combos. (Wall of Stone is the Timmy dream, but don't overdo it here. Are you really going to spend 9 mana on Nin? 4-5 toughness is plenty, and in fact preferable since those creatures will probably do more for us than would a 0-power wall.)

    Varchild's War-Riders     Hunted Phantasm

The meat of this deck came when I noticed that combos can be formed around a lot of the high-toughness creatures I was finding. Varchild's War-Riders and Hunted Phantasm boast nice stats for their cost, but they both put a lot of 1/1s on our opponent's side. But we can negate that with another (relatively) high-toughness creature, Izzet Staticaster! A few quick notes:

  • Caltrops provides more 1/1 defense, plus it gives our Deep-Slumber Titan vigilance.
  • Fractured Loyalty gives Izzet Staticaster something to do when no X/1s or Deep-Slumber Titans are around. You could also target that creature with a Nin X=0, if there's nothing better to do with her.
  • Omenspeaker sets us up while also serving as a Nin-sponge when needed.
  • Pyroclasm kills no one in our deck except Nin herself. It's usually safe to cast. And if a Spitemare is out, it can kill your opponent's X/4! (Or X/5 if you also have a Staticaster.)
  • As for how to handle bigger creatures, that's what those Fractured Loyalties are for. (Or you could just punch it out with your 7/7 Titan.)

The list:

90s kids think of one thing when they see "NIN"
 
Creatures
4 Omenspeaker
4 Varchild's War-Riders
4 Nin, the Pain Artist
4 Hunted Phantasm
4 Izzet Staticaster
4 Deep-Slumber Titan
2 Spitemare
26 cards

Other Spells
2 See Beyond
2 Fractured Loyalty
2 Pyroclasm
3 Izzet Signet
2 Caltrops
11 cards
Lands
11 Mountain
10 Island
1 Hammerheim
1 Urborg
23 cards
 
Izzet Staticaster

 

Why the Hammerheim and Urborg, you ask? For the Fractured Loyalty! Speaking of which....

 

Deck 3 Fractured Loyalty

Fractured Loyalty

Deck 2 only scratched the surface with this card!!! So much you can do with this joint.

    Seeker of Skybreak     Oasis

Tactic 1: Spam targeting

Obviously. And every color can do this. Here is but a small sampling of my favorites:

Tactic 2: Make it permanent

If you cast Fractured Loyalty, then target the creature to steal it, and then something were to... happen... to the Fractured Loyalty... you get to keep the creature forever. Like an undercosted Govern the Guildless.

But don't rely on your opponent to Disenchant the Fractured Loyalty for you (although this did happen to me once). Kill it yourself! Back to Nature, Auratog, Endless Wurm, et cetera.

Tactic 3: Steal, swap, steal another, swap again....

    Aura Finesse

Another scenario: Instead of sacrificing your Fractured Loyalty, what if you were to move it to a different creature? And then steal that one, too, while still keeping the first? Aura Finesse (and its weaker grandfather Enchantment Alteration) is the most direct way to do this, but don't forget about:

  • Flickering effects. When you exile & return the aura with Flickerwisp, you can attach it to a different creature. Brago, King Eternal will let you do this infinitely.
  • Bounce effects. You can always return the Fractured Loyalty to your hand and recast it on someone else. Consider Kor Skyfisher, Vedalken Mastermind, and the like.

Time for a deck!

This started by jamming as many of the above targeters together as I could, until I realized you really don't need that many in one deck. Just one or two out is plenty, especially since some of them are lands, which are usually pretty safe in the casual room. Sticking with red, I already had Rage Nimbus and Ghitu War Cry, both of which I always wanted to try. Let's just build a deck around that theme!

And how do we do that? With more walls!!  Vent Sentinel and a white splash for Wakestone Gargoyle, and we're basically set. Here's the list:

 

See you next time!