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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Apr 28 2007 9:42am
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Radha Aggro in Time Spiral Block Constructed
Pete Jahn
I’m doing a dumb thing. It’s two days before the Time Spiral Block Pro Tour, and I am writing about a TSP Block deck. In a few days, the event will reveal what the pro deck designers have been working on for months, and eleven rounds and a top eight will demonstrate what the best decks in the format really are. I’m going to submit my deck now, and it should go up about the time the T8 finishes.
Odds of me guessing right and having a T8 deck? One in a million.   Okay - maybe less.   I have a bit of tech. I have played with a few players qualified for the tour. I can’t reveal anything I learned from them.  I can reveal this.  This is my deck.
I started building this deck, as I usually do, by skimming my collection to see what I actually own online. I was going to work on the expected decks: UB Teferi Control, White Weenie and UG Scryb and Force. I built all of those, to the extent my card pool allowed, but I also noticed that the mana for those deck was shaky. This isn’t Ravnica block.
I also noticed that I had four copies of (Radha Heir to Keld) – and one of those was foil.  Radha seems pretty good, both as mana acceleration and a quick beatdown creature. Radha also would set me up for a quick Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, which would both accelerate my mana and mess up the already shaky mana of the three and four color Teferi decks. I knew that fast aggro decks would be primarily white weenie, so I looked for larger, fatter monsters that could pound through weenies, but be quick enough to fight off control. I ended up with the following partial list.
4 Radha
4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
4 Wall of Roots
4  Spectral Force (I bought my fourth – it’s too good not to play)
4  Scryb Ranger (untaps Spectral Force & Radha…)
Giant Dustwasp
Stonewood Invocation
Fungal Reaches
I played around with this a bit, and added combinations like Uktabi Drake and Primal Forcemage, and even some filler like Durkwood Baloth.   I played what I had, to see how it worked. Against white weenie, I sided in Sulfur Elemental, and even played them maindeck for a while. Sulfur Elemental combos nicely with Radha – since SE has flash, you can either play it maindeck, or attack with Radha, then use the red mana to cast Sulfur Elemental during attack phase. 
Sulfur Elemental, in multiples, destroys white weenie. However, it was working well enough that I tried a few maindeck.
That version sort of worked, but sometimes it just crapped out. I needed more of a finisher. Timbermare was fine, but I needed to pay echo, and I also needed to hit my land drops, so I found myself playing 24 lands, plus Radha and Wall of Roots.   As a result, I often found myself with the mana to play a big, fat finisher, so I looked around for a really good finisher in red or green.   Here’s what I found:
Pic=Bogardan Hellkite
Late game I could cast it, often end of turn when a control-playing opponent had flashed back Mystic Teachings. Five to the head, plus five through the air, was generally game. About the only problem was making sure I got RRR – and for that reason I started playing a couple copies of Search for Tomorrow.
Then I noticed that I was often flashing in Bogardan Hellkite, using Radha mana, and doing it early. I upped the Search for Tomorrow count, and got more games like this:
How that happens:
Turn one: suspend Search
Turn two Radha
Turn three: Mwoldovi Acid-Moss
Turn four: attack with Radha, use her mana and the lands to flash out Hellkite.
In the above screenshot, I did, indeed, cast Bogardan Hellkites on turns four, five and six.
For a while, I also tried Hunting Wilds as an additional method of powering out Hellkites and fatties. It is decent, but not Acid-Moss, and it cannot find Mountains. 
The deck worked, but it was not very consistent. It also had very little in terms of late game threats against control. I really wanted something to work with against control – especially to allow more of a comeback after a Damnation, or to provide more gas in a creature stall. There was a pretty obvious answer:
Pic=Wild Pair
Wild Pair provides an additional creature whenever you resolve one. It doesn’t work if your creature spell is countered, but it does in every other case. For example, if you play a Radha, but you already have one in play, the two Legends will both die, but Wild Pair will trigger first, and you can get a third Radha, if you want, or any other creature with a combines power and toughness of four.
With Wild Pair in play, if you play a Wall of Roots, you can fetch a Sulfur Elemental. With Wild Pair, casting a Timbermare will let you put a Bogardan Hellkite into play. Spectral Force will get you, well, basically, just another Spectral Force. Having been on the wrong side of that combination at times, however, I can say that two Spectral Forces is still plenty good.
A 1/1, like Scryb Ranger, can get you another 1/1 – like Draining Whelk or Triskelavus.
Note that the power and toughness of the creature that Wild Pair will put into play are the power and toughness of the creature when the ability resolves. So, if you cast Keldon Marauders, then hit the Marauders with Might of Old Krosa while the ability is on the stack, when you finally go search, you will be looking for a creature with power and toughness that add to ten. 
The Wild Pair addition also convinced me to run off to MTGOTraders and buy another Timbermare. Getting a Hellkite for 3G is pretty darn good. Just stack the abilities: Wild Pair on the stack first, tap all creatures second. That way the Hellkite can block, if necessary.
The Durkwood Baloths are not particularly good, but they are fun with Wild Pair. The deck does not have much else to do on turn one – and after a Wild Pair, they not only produce a hasty 5/5, but a Hellkite to clear the way.
Being able to modify the power and toughness of creatures while Wild Pair is on the stack. It gives you some flexibility. Wall of Roots is great: it gets Sulfur Elemental as is, and if you yank a mana off first, it can fetch Radha or another 2/2. I experimented with some other 2/2s, like Blood Knight, Kavu Predator, Jaya – even Knight of the Holy Nimbus in the deck, as singletons.
I have tried some other options to adjust power and toughness.  One I like a lot is adding Spike Feeders to the deck. They are very good against beatdown early, then rock with Wild Pair in play. If you just let them come into play as is, when Wild Pair resolves, you can get another 2/2. If you eat a counter, then you can fetch a 1/1, like Trisky. If youeat both counters, you can fetch another Spike. I have been playing around with a Spike Tiller, just for grins. It is as great surprise, at times.
I also tried running an Akroma, Angel of Wrath in the deck, to be fetched with a 5/5 that got a spike counter before Wild Pair resolved. It worked, but I was more likely to draw her than fetch her. A red Akroma would be better, but I don’t have any. 
One card that has gone in and out of the deck a lot is Terramorphic Expanse. It is a great way to fix your mana, but having the land come into play tapped is not so good.   Fungal Reaches is almost as bad – it is another land that does not allow you to suspend Search for Tomorrows on turn one, or get colored mana the turn you play it. I am beginning to thing that the deck can handle either Fungal Reaches or the Expanse, but not both. I just don’t know which I like. 
Here’s the current deck list.
10 Forest
9 Mountain
4 Fungal Reaches
4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
3 Wild Pair 
3 Search for Tomorrow
1 Harmonize
4 Radha, Heir to Keld
4 Wall of Roots
4 Spectral Force
4 Bogardan Hellkite
3 Timbermare
3 Spike Feeder
1 Spike Tiller
1 Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
1 Sulfur Elemental
1 Triskelavus
1  Blood Knight 
2 Scryb Ranger
Krosan Grip
Rough // Tumble
2 Sulfur Elemental
Draining Whelk
Boom // Bust
Utopia Vow
Against White Weenie, you bring in the Sulfur Elementals and the Blood Knight.  The matchup is generally pretty god, unless they get a god draw. 
Against UB control, you also bring in the flash-y Sulfur Elemental, and hope. This matchups is not so hot. Damnation hurts, but you should get some early beats in, then win with dragons and the like. I have tried siding in the Scryb Ranger and Draining Whelk.   Most opponents just don’t expect to see their stuff countered – and when you can nail a Teferi that way, life is good. However, you best method of winning against UB control is hoping that they are splashing several colors, and you can mana screw them with Acid-Moss. Boom and Bust also comes in against UB/x control, for the same reason..
Other aggro decks: this is generally faster, and your creatures are better. 
Against “mono-black” control, side in Boom // Bust and kill their Swamps and Urborgs. This makes Tendrils of Corruption less of a problem. 
Actually, covering metagaming and sideboard choices right now is probably not too useful. The first round coverage of the PT is now up. No decklists, yet, but there will be. The Pro Tour should have a serious effect on the metagame, so the sideboard will shift again soon, anyway. 
Right now, the deck is not a world beater. It is, however, quite versatile and a complete blast to play. Best of all, opponents keep misunderstanding what my deck does. The screenshot above is from game two. Game one I resolved Wild Pair, so my opponent sided in enchantment kill and so forth, and was completely surprised by dragon beatdown. Other opponents are unprepared for a Spectral Force on turn four, followed by Armageddon (now known as Bust) the following turn.  
“one million words” on MODO


Thanks for the replies. by one million words at Mon, 04/30/2007 - 09:53
one million words's picture

Last to first...

Yes, I know that red Akroma can find white Akroma - but since I only own one red Akroma, and just got her, I haven't tried to work her into the mix. More importantly, she's another expensive (mana wise) card, and the deck doesn't want that many super high cost cards.

Thanks for the kind words

and again

Yes, it makes the Marauders a 7/7. That fetches, in block, Nicol Bolas, Leige of the Pit and Tectonic Fiend. I don't really want any of those. Or am I missing something good?

by Evu at Mon, 04/30/2007 - 11:01
Evu's picture

Pete, and chance of reducing the size of that screen shot? It is so large that it stretches my screen (my resolution is 1024x768), which means I have to use the left-to-right scroll bar just to read a paragraph.

Aside from that, I like what I've been able to read of the article. Good job finding a use for Radha.

by thejitte at Sat, 04/28/2007 - 12:28
thejitte's picture

Really great article. Simple, fun, and your Wild Pair tech was very interesting.

good article by Morkje (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 04/29/2007 - 05:11
Morkje (Unregistered)'s picture

So, if you cast Keldon Marauders, then hit the Marauders with Might of Old Krosa while the ability is on the stack, when you finally go search, you will be looking for a creature with power and toughness that add to ten.
Actually marauder + might would make it a 7/7 ( might checks if it is played DURING your main phase, not as a sorcery) and could get anything that adds up to 14.

Also, if you wanna side in Boom/Bust ( and want to cast Boom) you want Terramoprhic Expanse , cause you can target it and then sacrifce so you dont lose a land yourself ( make sure to hold control key online to do this)

I Love Radha by Dreager_Ex at Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:29
Dreager_Ex's picture

I always liked Rahda's potential... pulling out turn four bogardan hellkitez on Magic Workstation always had me going....

good to see this article I like

by EveryM (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:03
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by EveryNameTaken (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/28/2007 - 11:07
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First let me say that Radha is one of my favorite cards, especially the flavor text. I've been working on a deck built around here online, and this article has given me ideas of where I want to go next with the deck. You do also know of the Radha + Akroma, Angel of Hawtness, er, I mean Fury combo? Radha also works very well with Jaya once she's in play.