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By: Doctor Anime, Tomer Abramovici
May 03 2010 12:36am
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In my first article, I discussed how to identify good cards in the Pauper format. Basically, when it comes down to choosing what types of cards you want for your deck, aggro wants mana-efficient spells and control wants card advantage "Xfor1" spells, and midrange wants some combination of both. This time around, I want to focus in on a specific type of card advantage: "Enters The Battlefield" effects.

As I've said before, Pauper is a format where decks usually win through creature damage, because of this it's also a format that has tons of creature removal. With this in mind, let's look at two scenarios:

Scenario A: Jimmy plays Mourning Thrull. Oooh, flyer AND lifelink! Scary! That twenty-turn clock really is going to put the heat on the opponent. Jimmy hopes one day maybe he'll topdeck an Edge of the Divinity and make the thrull, you know, good. Unfortunately, Jimmy's dreams of mediocre combos are shattered when the opponent disposes of Mr. Thrull with Incinerate. Darn. In essence, the opponent traded one of his cards for one of Jimmy's.

Scenario B: Jimmy plays Chittering Rats. As soon as it's played, the opponent is forced to put a card from his hand on top of his library (follow-up swearing and shouting obscenities are optional). Villain then removes the rat with Oblivion Ring. Jimmy's okay with that, because although the opponent traded a card for his 2/2 creature, it doesn't reverse the fact that his opponent lost a card when the rats entered play.

That's the beauty of "Enters The Battlefield" effects, which I will refer to as ETB from now on. Your opponent can kill your creature, but because it already accomplished something, it's not a purely even trade for them. Another great thing about ETB effects is their synergy with bounce spells. Kor Skyfisher, Dream Stalker, Whitemane Lion, Cavern Harpy are all superb bounce spells that work wonderfully with ETB spells. By far my favorite of these is Momentary Blink, which I gushed about when discussing UWblink in Pauper Times #3 so I won't regurgitate it here. The two popular ninjas, Okiba-Gang Shinobi and Ninja of the Deep Hours, are BFFs with ETB critters too.

With all this apparent goodness surrounding ETB cards, and with Pauper having a ridiculous quantity of them (type "enters the battlefield" in your deck editor search engine), it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the first successful Pauper decks in the history of the format was one that focused on this mechanic. With a quick Google search, I found an Orzhov Blink list from May 2007, which at the time was one of the few Tier 1 decks of the budding unofficial format. 

 

People had acknowledged the raw power of ETB effects and started mixing them with Momentary Blink right from the start. This trend has persisted throughout the years to make a number of tournament-worthy decks, like Stars n' Cogs and UWblink.

Blink isn't the only archetype that heavily uses ETB effects to create an edge over their opponent's removal.  There was a long-time champion of Pauper that demolished the competition in all the early Premier Events. It was such a strong deck that people seriously debated whether Crypt Rats should be the second banned card in the format to keep Cranial Plating company. Check out an early list of the black menace known as Mono Black Control: 

MBC
1st Place By SlashRus, Pauper PE 1
Creatures
4 Chittering Rats
4 Crypt Rats
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Twisted Abomination
4 Warren Pilferers
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Corrupt
4 Diabolic Edict
3 Distress
3 Tendrils of Corruption
14 cards
Lands
24 Swamp
24 cards

Corrupt

 

Chittering Rats, Phyrexian Rager, and Warren Pilferers make up 12 ETB creatures, with the Pilferers generally bouncing an ETB creature from the graveyard back to your hand to play again. There's even two maindecked ninjas for more bouncy fun! MBC is consistent and filled with raw power, and the ETB creatures are a big reason why the deck is so successful. 

Then there are some less explored color combination. Last week's A recent PE had an interesting UR rogue deck that was a new spin on the counter-burn style, adding in ETB creatures and Dream Stalker as a bouncer for solid results. Since I didn't know the name of the deck I gave it a random one, but if Raging Flump has a name for it already then I can change it.

UR Entrance
by The_Raging_Flump 8th Place (03/20/2010 PE)
Creatures
3 Dream Stalker
4 Errant Ephemeron
3 Mogg War Marshal
4 Mulldrifter
3 Steamcore Weird
17 cards

Other Spells
4 Counterspell
2 Deep Analysis
4 Firebolt
3 Kaervek's Torch
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Serrated Arrows
19 cards
Lands
4 Izzet Boilerworks
9 Snow-Covered Island
7 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Terramorphic Expanse
24 cards

Dream Stalker

 

Much like Kehm's Steam Machine deck that I posted in my first article, this deck has cheap, versatile answers to aggro creatures with amazing burn spells, while still able to combat control and combo with counters and card draw. Here we see the powerful creatures paired up with Dream Stalker, a very solid wall that can kill a good chunk of creatures that Goblins play, and that can help re-use creatures for longevity. Errant Ephemeron is another card that doesn't get enough love these days, as a 4/4 flyer for 2cc is amazing and king of the skies.

This list is something I'll have to build for myself since I like how it looks. However from a glance, Kaervek's Torch appears to be out of place. It's not a good card against aggro and the deck doesn't look like it needs reach when it's running 4x Emepheron and so much other burn. I would probably cut those to round out full playsets of Stalker, Marshal, and Weird.

 

So as you can see, abusing good ETB cards is a tried and true recipe for success in Pauper. There are even more cards out there that benefit from being bounced. Fading cards, much like Vanishing, -- or rather, almost exactly like Vanishing -- would like nothing more than to be bounced out of the battlefield to reset their counters before they'd hit the grave. And by Fading cards, I mean just this card:

Blastoderm

Ahhh, good ol' Blastoderm. I remember back in the day when Nemesis came out. He was so (insert anecdote about a time in Magic that I wasn't involved in here). Yes, good times indeed. Well, Pauper recently brought Derm into the fold with a couple obligatory ooh's and aah's from the community. Really, a 5/5 shroud for 4cc is the nuts around here. In practice, it's either dishing out 15(!!!) damage by itself or killing three chump blockers. That's like three shrouded Keldon Marauders in one, and in a bigger body to make it harder to kill in combat. But alas, our friendly mutant beast thing hasn't really made it into competitive decks.

The problem was that Blastoderm didn't fit into any of the current deck archetypes that ran green. Cloak decks didn't want it because Derm can't be enchanted. Slivers didn't want it because their terribly spotty manabase can barely support 2cc creatures let alone a 4cc. ELVES! could run him but don't because they're straight-up racists. I tried running Blastoderm in Mono Green Aggro aka Stompy, but it just was too costly for the sligh curve that Stompy needs in order to succeed. A new deck had to be made to accommodate this bomb.

My first glimpse of Blastoderm being successfully used was Amar's UG deck that I saw piloted in a TPDC that I entered. The deck had the manabase to support the beast and the bounce cards in Dream Stalker and Ninja of the Deep Hours to "reset" the fade counters. I thought the concept was really neat, but then my ADD kicked in and I worked on other wild creations, like my zany Graft deck that revolved around cards like Sporeback Troll, Fertilid, Stingmoggie, and other shenanigans. For reference, here is Amar's deck from that TPDC event (he went 3-1):

 

Earlier this week A couple weeks ago however that idea came back to me. I remembered the gist of the list and built it for myself. The first build was mostly just a UG version of UWblink and ran some counters, Spellstutter Sprite, and Pestermite. It didn't turn out so great. Eventually I cut the counters and faeries and put in more creatures that made it more like Amar's list. This is when the deck really took off. After some tweaking, my build looks like this:

 

This is a midrange deck that seeks to stabilize the board while drawing cards and then go on the offensive with big threats like Blastoderm or Rancor enchanted on just about anything. There are more synergies here than you can shake a stick at, though how that metaphor makes sense is beyond me. Let's take Khalni Garden's role here as an example. This unplayed WWK land finally finds a home here as an extra creature that triggers Essence Warden, protects Blastoderm from Diabolic Edict / Innocent Blood, chump blocks for 2+ damage making you save more life than Kabira Crossroads, becomes a 2/1 "free" creature with Rancor that trades with most of your opponent's dorks, helps bring Dream Stalker online on turn two without needing to bounce a land, and even acts as a NINJA ENABLER. Yes, that's right, turn1 plant followed by turn2 ninja can happen, and yes it is as effective as it is epic.

The hands-down strongest card in the list here is Rancor. This incredibly cost-effective enchantment turns all your creatures into threats that can roll over your opponent's dudes. Your Borderland Ranger can now trade with Razor Golem, Mulldrifter laughs at Kor Skyfisher and even your Plant token now trades with Goblin Cohort. But my favorite use of Rancor is putting it on a Ninja. Any of you readers hate it when you sneak a Ninja in play but then he just sits there on the board because your opponent has a blocker? I know I do. Well, not anymore! Slap a Rancor on our blue friend and even if blocked, his trample damage will net you another card.

The Good:

Mogg ConscriptsShade of TrokairMystical Teachings

I've played about twenty games with this deck in tournament practice, and from this testing experience I'll say that Goblins, WW, and Teachings are all favorable but not auto-wins. Goblins is the easiest but they can win if they get a ridiculous hand while I'm stuck with a poor one. WW can be tough with Shade of Trokair and flyers, but as long as they don't have a nuts draw I usually stabilize the board, UG's card draw kicks in and I take out their threats with Serrated Arrows. WW can stall a bit with life gain, but it doesn't matter when I'm drawing a bunch of cards while they're stuck on topdecks. Teachings is usually good, Temporal Spring is an MVP against their Dimir Aqueducts, a high creature count coupled with Plant tokens provides a good cushion against Edicts, Blastoderm is very difficult for them to deal with, you shouldn't be behind in card draw with Ninjas and Mulldrifters, and Trinket Mage can fetch Relic of Progenitus for graveyard hate.

The Bad:

Grapeshot

On paper, the Storm matchup isn't one that you should be winning often. Essence Warden is nice because it forces the opponent to develop a higher storm count, and Temporal Spring tells him to skip a turn. Sometimes you can put enough pressure on the Storm pilot that he tries to go off earlier than he'd like and you can successfully cut off his red mana sources with Hydroblasts. A more likely scenario is that he tries to finish you off with Empty the Warrens but you respond with Echoing Truth. However, if the Storm pilot knows how this deck plays and only goes off when he needs to and ends up finishing you with Grapeshot, there's nothing you can do about it.

Actual testing has been proving otherwise, but for now I chalk that up to pilot errors for the most part. I think as soon as my opponent sees me dropping Islands, he gets scared that he's facing a counter-heavy deck and feels that he needs to go off early before I put down too much land. It's not uncommon for me to play against a Storm pilot that always goes off turn 3 instead of taking more turns to set himself up properly. Admittedly, I've also been getting pretty lucky with how often the opponent tries to finish me with Empty the Warrens instead of Grapeshot.

It was only after playing around with this deck in the queues that I realized I was forgetting a fairly crucial card for this matchup: Dispel. Using this card along with Hydroblast really puts a beating on Storm's mana generation when it tries to go off and you'll be surprised how easy you can make them fizzle is you take away two of their mana spells. It's also incredibly useful against the Teachings matchup.

 

The Ugly:

Sinew SliverQuirion Ranger

Creature combo decks beat removal-light decks. It's that simple. Slivers and ELVES! will always demolish UG and there's not much you can do about it in those colors. Coral Net doesn't cut it.

The only creature-combo that UG can stomp is Affinity. A Wickerbough Elder by itself is an awesome counter, but if you're lucky enough to put Serrated Arrows on the board as well and feed the Elder more counters, things get downright ridiculous. Watch as you obliterate the opponent's entire board, lands and all! Muahahaha!!!

Off to the Queues:

I've been doing very well with this deck in tournament practice, but I know what you guys want to see, and that's real results. So I decided to queue up and pray that somehow I avoid the huge amount of Storm in the 2-mans and butt heads with WW / Goblins / Teachings. Let's see how I did!

1) Vs. Storm (DranoFoamer)

Game 1:

I don't have the replay for this game. I mulled to 4, Villain reveals that he's playing Storm, and I lose on turn 3.

SB:

 

-3 Serrated Arrows
-1 Relic of Progenitus
-4 Dream Stalker
+4 Hydroblast
+4 Echoing Truth

 

 

Game 2:

Villain mulls to six while I get greedy and keep this hand. It only needs an island to become a business hand, and with a 50/50 split in my manabase I'm hoping to draw into one within two turns. This was a mistake, but look how much potential this hand has! Could you say no?

I draw Essence Warden and start poking at him with it and a Rancor'd Plant token, but I don't draw a third land and turn4 my opponent goes off and drops a bunch of Goblin tokens on the board. Luckily for me, I did draw Echoing Truth earlier and the turn after I finally pick up my third land -- an Island. The rest of the match was a breeze.

 

Game 3:

Yeah, that's a keeper. Villain mulls to five.

Villain starts playing... Mountains? He was running only Invasion sac-lands last two games. I land-ramp with Coiling Oracle and sneak in a Ninja, which he tries to kill with a Lava Dart but I Hydroblast the Flashback attempt.  I keep drawing the good stuffs until Villain concedes.

W: 1   L: 0

1) Vs. Goblins (levunga21)

Game 1:

I go first and keep this slow but strong hand. Villain keeps his hand too.

I don't draw into any 1cc or 2cc cards while Villain plays Jackal Familiar and Mogg Flunkies. I bounce the Flunkies with Temporal Spring, which means that my life total remains at 20 for the first three turns. Things look good. Villain responds by dropping a third mountain, playing Flunkies and another Familiar. I get out a Trinket Mage, but he responds by Lightning Bolting it and dropping Mogg War Marshal. Wow, this guy's hand is nuts! I plop down a Mulldrifter, but Villain shows his hand gets even more ridiculous, as he drops another Mogg Conscripts followed by Goblin Bushwhacker. Like I said, the only time this deck loses to Goblins is when they draw the nuts while I have a "meh" hand. This was definitely one of those times.

SB:

-3 Temporal Spring
-1 Relic of Progenitus
-3 Ninja of the Deep Hours
+4 Hydroblast
+1 Serrated Arrows
+2 Safehold Elite

Game 2:

First hand no land, second hand no land, third hand 1 land no plays, finally I have to settle for this. Villain keeps his hand and then lies to me (http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/9431/goblinsorly.png) for some reason, though I believed him until I checked the replays to write this article.

Villain plays Mogg Conscripts, but gets stuck on one land without any other 1cc cards to play. I catch an Island and try to evoke Mulldrifter only to have it met by Pyroblast. I slap a Rancor on my Plant to make it a solid defense. Turn4 Villain plays a Goblin Cohort while I draw into Coiling Oracle and cantrip into Serrated Arrows. Turn5, still no second mountain, he plays a non-kicked Goblin Bushwhacker to swing, and I'm more than happy to trade my Plant with a Conscript. I play Arrows while Villain hits his second mountain and starts playing 1/1's for me to kill. I draw Blastoderm and try to go on the offensive with a 5/1 Oracle and a Blastoderm, oddly enough my opponent decides to chump the Derm instead of trading with the Oracle. Oracle eventually gets bolted, but I draw another Serrated Arrows and things are looking great.

As it turns out, the second Arrows was the second last non-land card I'd draw that game. Turns 10 to 17 the only playable card I get is Dream Stalker which is met by another Pyroblast, while Villain plays two more kicked Bushwhackers and a Goblin Sledder to win the game.

And that's how I lost to an easy matchup in the queues.

W: 1   L: 1

3) Vs. Storm (conditionmint)

Game 1:

Villain goes first and keeps his hand. I keep mine as well.

An Invasion sac-land shows me that I'm playing Storm again. Hooray! I already know that this first game is a loss. Sure enough, on turn 3 my opponent goes off with a Grapeshot to kill my two dorks and then fills the board with Goblins.

SB:

-3 Serrated Arrows
-1 Relic of Progenitus
-4 Dream Stalker
+4 Hydroblast
+4 Echoing Truth

Game 2:

Two unplayable hands make me mull to 5. This isn't exactly a winner, but I won't risk mulling further. Villain keeps his hand.

Luckily I draw into Echoing Truth and Trinket Mage, and suddenly my hand is looking way better. On turn 3 Villain plays Ponder and then decides to go off with the board looking like the picture below:

When a combo player goes off while I'm tapped out I hit f6 and then watch a little bit of Lost in my effort to catch up to the latest season. Unfortunately, the Essence Warden demands that if Warrens is played I must cut my watching time a bit short. Villain finishes with Warrens, which I bounce away then next turn, and from there I win.

Game 3:

After a mull to 6 I'm staring at a hand with an answer to Warrens and a bunch of life gain, that's about as good as it gets. Villain keeps his hand.

I develop an army of double Wardens and a Rancor'd Plant and start swinging until turn 4, when my opponent goes off. This time his finisher is Grapeshot, but a storm count of 10 only wipes out my weenies and tickles my life total. The end of the game looked like this:

W: 2   L: 1

4) Vs. Teachings (Free87)

Free87 is a skilled player. I actually played him in the queues before with an earlier version of UG, running Borderland Ranger instead of Trinket Mage and was soundly beaten, which made him the first person to beat me piloting Teachings. This time with a fetchable Relic I was very eager to have a rematch.

I'm going first and open this hand, so does Free. Basically a turn 2 ninja is guaranteed to draw me a card. Hopefully my opponent won't have an answer to it right off the bat and I'll draw another card. The worst case scenario is that he deals with the creature but at a tempo loss. There's not much else going on with this hand though. I get greedy and keep. Would you have kept it?

As I assumed, Ninja is met a turn later by a Disfigure. I draw into two Essence Wardens, Rancor, Mulldrifter, and some lands. A Warden is met by another Disfigure and Free hardcasts a Ninja of the Deep Hours of his own, which lets me play Mulldrifter without fear of a counter. He responds with his own Mulldrifter while I play Serrated Arrows and make a big mistake; I play Dream Stalker and bounce a Khalni Garden to my hand instead of my Mulldrifter. My thought process at the time was I was afraid he had a counter for the mulldrifter, and from the last games I was certain that he was running multiple copies of Diabolic Edict. Using Edict to get rid of my Stalker, drawing a card, then countering my re-cast Mulldrifter would've been backbreaking for me. But really I shouldn't have been playing around one removal spell, and using up one of his few counterspells on my Mulldrifter would've been better than him using a removal spell on it instead.

Because I didn't do the right play, when I drew my Blastoderm it took a counterspell instead, and Free managed to stabilize at 5 life with access to Teachings and Grim Harvest and more than enough mana to abuse it. I never saw a Trinket Mage or Relic.

SB:

-3 Essence Warden
+1 Relic of Progenitus
+2 Safehold Elite

Game 2:

It's a slow but otherwise good hand. Trinket Mage can fetch a Relic and I'll probably play that Mulldrifter on time. We both keep our hands.

Things play out quite well for me at the beginning. Trinket Mage lands and fetches a Relic while I draw into Blastoderm and another Trinket Mage. Villain keeps my side honest by killing off the Mage and dropping down Chittering, but I sneak the Derm in before he puts down a second Island and it's feeling safe with two Plants as its entourage. I play the Relic and put down another Trinket Mage to fetch the second Relic, and now my hand holds Relic and two Mulldrifters.

Ravenous Rats is played and I must make a tough decision: Do I ditch a Drifter or Relic? I choose the Relic. I play my second Mulldrifter and being drawing into another Blastoderm, Trinket Mage, and a couple lands, while Villain is dropping Drifters of his own and even hardcasts a Ninja. I bait a counterspell with Trinket Mage, and it indeed gets caught by Exclude, which lets me sneak in my second Blastoderm. Free plays his own second Mulldrifter.

Then I make my SECOND huge mistake. I have Serrated Arrows in hand, but instead of playing it first like I should've, I attack first with my Mulldrifter and Blastoderm, which lets Free trade Drifters, and then play the Arrows. Oi! This mistake is so bad that I lost the game because of it. Turns out Free had Capsize in hand, and took out my Derm by bouncing a plant token and then killing the beastie with Innocent Blood. I have another Blastoderm but its met by another Counterspell. We go back and forth for a few more turns and I keep the pressure up, but at this point Teaching's lategame power > UG's.

It's over, and because of such an incredibly bad mistake, I lost a game that I should've won. I feel worse than a Storm player! But as you can see, if you're playing this deck correctly then it can really put the heat on Teachings... And I want another rematch :)

W: 2   L: 2

 

So that's that. I did four 2man queues and beat two Storm decks that I have an unfavorable matchup against, lost to a Goblins deck that I have a favorable matchup against, and then lost to Teachings due to game-changing error on my part. I could show you more matches but this article is running way too long already. I had a WW matchup to show you but I'm cutting it for that reason (it was an easy win). But after all is said and done, here is my revised list with how I sideboard:

 

Is It Good Enough?

The biggest comparison this UG build has is with UWblink, which is a solid, tournament-worthy deck. To justify playing UG, you need to show that the benefits of Green are comparable or better to White. UW biggest claim to fame is Momentary Blink, which provides the deck a ridiculous amount of card advantage and combat tricks, while UG's comparison is Rancor, which turns every single creature (including Plant tokens) into a bonafide threat and eeks out more value from Ninja. For Bouncers, Kor Skyfisher is convincingly superior to Dream Stalker, but White's other creatures like Guardian of the Guildpact and Deft Duelist pale in comparison to Blastoderm.

In short, I don't think UG is strictly better than UW, but I do believe that it's comparable.

 

Wrapping Things Up

From playtesting, I realized that Dispel really wants a spot in the sideboard. It helps against both Teachings and Storm. I never needed a 4th arrows, safehold elite was merely okay, and I've been losing faith in relic, so those got cut. I've also been noticing that Temporal Spring is inconsistent. If you hit a karoo with it on turn 3 then it was the best spell that you've cast all game. If you play it late, however, it's a minor nuisance at best. Finally, I'm a sucker for Coiling Oracle, though I'm sure some of you will disagree with me here. I decided that I wanted to bump it to a full playset.

Sea Gate Oracle is almost online and I absolutely want a full playset of it here. That means more changes must be made. In goes the five oracles for three springs, one relic, and one trinket mage. I also have to get around to trying Curfew in this build as a nice combat trick that also abuses our ETB creatures including Derm.

After all is said and done, this is the list that I'll be trying out when ROE arrives. Curfew is an untested idea, and if it doesn't work out I'll put in Borderland Ranger instead:

That's all folks! Thanks for reading.

16 Comments

it's interesting that you by JustSin at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 10:02
JustSin's picture
4

it's interesting that you mention Goblins/Teachings to be favorable matches and combo to be unfavorable, yet in your test games it showed the opposite

I love the deck idea and if I had a second Garruk deck then I'd love to run this

Yeah, really. by First_Strike at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 11:16
First_Strike's picture

I thought it was funny as well. As we all know, sometimes Magic seems to do that.

I've played against a couple by RCueva at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 12:53
RCueva's picture

I've played against a couple of deck like this and with so many creatures it seems like I never had enough removal. I've seen people run Reality Acid in this deck as well. Good Article though.

Two words... by cheebamunky at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 13:10
cheebamunky's picture

Wormfang Drake

I've been playing this deck for a week or two, and this has replaced the Dream Stalker function of my deck. I always thought that card needed a home, and this deck seems like the best one. My favorite play has been to remove a Blastoderm with no Fading counters left. Otherwise, there are usually enough early targets for a turn 3 drake, even against removal. Wall of Roots have replaced the Civic Wayfinders/Borderland Rangers and have made it easier to cast a spell like Negate instead of Dispel on my opponent's turn.

The garruk vs liliana by Tarmotog at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 13:11
Tarmotog's picture

The garruk vs liliana blastoderms are so ugly while the FNM nemesis art blastoderms are so cool.. its multiple appearance in the article reminds me of when i first played magic.. I wanna put one into a deck!

I FORGOT TO MENTION! by Doctor Anime at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 13:39
Doctor Anime's picture

I FORGOT TO MENTION! Illpalazzo was the one who recommended I initially run Trinket Mage instead of Borderland Ranger, since he has the same role but could also fetch Relic, which is pretty smart I'd say. Also, him and bigmb have been representing the deck in TPDCs with strong results, so kudos to them. I accidentally cut this out when I was re-arranging some paragraphs. They call the deck Lower Level Blue, which I think is a fine name for it.

The queue results are bit misleading. I get the strangest luck when I play with money on the line it seems. I played MUC in the last PE and won against Slivers, the deck's hardest matchup, only to lose to WW, it's easiest one. But people emphasize queues for good reason, so in those went.

Reality Acid is always fun but a little clunky. UW is the best fit for it, since you can run Dream Stalker, Kor Skyfisher, and Momentary Blink for tons of bounce potential.

Wormfang Drake is definitely a stronger creature than Dream Stalker, but my main beef is that you don't get the creature back until the drake dies. Since the Stalker is so inexpensive I can usuallly bounce the Derm, then replay him in the same turn. Or you can bounce a ninja, attack with mulldrifter, ninjitsu. Also the Stalker can bounce Serrated Arrows for three new counters, while the Drake cannot.

And ya, old Derm art > new art. There's something I like about the colors of the new art, but the beastie itself looks lame.

Rancor by YrdBrd420 at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 17:32
YrdBrd420's picture

Since Rancor is over $4 a piece, Im not getting them til Legacys released. Do you think Bonesplitter can fill its role til then?

I'm not convinced Rancor by Amar at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 19:43
Amar's picture

I'm not convinced Rancor belongs in the deck at all. It's best use is turning Mulldrifter into a faster clock or a guy who trades with 2/3s. Occasionally it lets a ninja trample over for card draw too. But the creature you'd most want to use it on, Blastoderm, is of course invalid. So don't sweat lack of Rancors YrdBrd, and feel free to try something completely different. Temporal Springs is a fun card, for example.

Nice to see you pick up and evolve the deck, Doc. I'd forgotten about it somewhat, having more recently fallen in love with Stalingrad:
http://pdcmagic.com/gatherling/deck.php?mode=view&id=11480

Personally I wouldn't play by Doctor Anime at Mon, 05/03/2010 - 21:43
Doctor Anime's picture

Personally I wouldn't play the deck without Rancor, I'd just play UW at that point. But as Amar says, feel free to try different things.

The article was done quite a while ago and I was holding back until Rancor was reprinted for the cost reason. As usual, I post it in PDCforums first to "test the waters" and see what questions should be addressed in the article. But with bigmb and Illpalazzo representing it already, I figured might as well put it out there now.

When June rolls around, pick up those Rancors and start testing 'em... everywhere. :)

I can't wait to get my hands by RCueva at Tue, 05/04/2010 - 11:08
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I can't wait to get my hands on some rancors this June. Also the Stalingrad deck posted above looks fun.

Bonesplitter vs. Rancor by YrdBrd420 at Tue, 05/04/2010 - 14:12
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Yall best believe as soon as Legacy is available, a set of Rancors will be mine. O yes, they will be mine. Until then, heres an idea for discussion thats being kicked around on the pdc board for this deck. Trinket Mage + artifact lands + Bonesplitter + Viridian Longbow. You have a nice little array of targets for Mage to get from artifact lands (where it does the same job as Borderland Ranger/Civic Wayfinder) to being able to fetch your "Rancors" in Bonesplitter to a nice option to mow down X/1s with Longbow. At the moment, I have Ranger/Wayfinder in my list but Im really considering Mage. Any thoughts on the number of artifact lands that gives you targets with Mage but doesnt open you up to artifact removal too much? I see in the 1st list posted in the article theres a 3/3 split.

3/3 split worked fine with by Doctor Anime at Tue, 05/04/2010 - 16:19
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3/3 split worked fine with me. I personally never ran into artifact hate. You could try 2/2 split, but there will be a handful of times where you want to fetch an artifact forest over island but already have 2 on the board. Not a big deal though.

I think the Longbow is better than the Relic as a singleton. I think pinging is currently a bit underrated and would give the 1/X creatures more things to do. It should give the deck a little more reach and lategame power / tricks. Good idea.

People were suggesting taking the Longbow thing further by putting in deathtouch creatures. I'm not so sure about that. The deathtouch creatures imo aren't good enough by themselves, so playing subpar creatures to set up a good combo isn't worth it.

Longbow by YrdBrd420 at Tue, 05/04/2010 - 18:22
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Naw, I wont be trying to work in deathouch dudes just to "turn on" Longbow. I like it by itself from playing various forms of Trinket Blink.

I ran a version of your UG by ChrisMH77 at Wed, 05/05/2010 - 00:16
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I ran a version of your UG Entrance deck in TPDC and went 3-1 in swiss and lost to Storm in Top 8. It is a very fun deck to run. I used 2 Civic Wayfinders and 2 Borderland Rangers in place of the 4 Sea Gate Oracles. The Curfews did not seem to help out all too much when I drew them, there were a few times I wished they were Counterspells instead. All in all I like the deck a lot.

Thanks for running the deck by Doctor Anime at Wed, 05/05/2010 - 12:45
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Thanks for running the deck and giving me this input. Perhaps Curfew isn't a good idea then. I only briefly tried Counterspells back when my UG list looked like a normal UW one, but I felt like the deck wanted to tap out too often (draw card + cast it, or bounce + cast it). But my testing was hardly extensive. If Counterspell can fit here, it'd be by far the best inclusion, since it's one of the best cards in the format. Good suggestions.

A lot of these cards that by Bobbynibbles at Thu, 05/06/2010 - 16:09
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4

A lot of these cards that cost too much? Pay $20 and get the dual decks they are in. You actually make money off those. Rancor is four dollars? The Vs. Garruk is $9. That's almost the price of the entire deck right there.