Lord Erman's picture
By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
Oct 20 2009 11:29am
Login to post comments


Dawn of a New Era Part II

by Nafiz Erman

Hello everybody and welcome to Rogue Play once again. Last week we started talking about ZEN Block Constructed format and examined some monocolor deck options. In case you need to take a look at them again, here is the link for you.

This week in Part II, we will continue our journey into the depths of Zendikar and we will examine some multicolor deck options. But before we do so, please allow me to correct a mistake: Last week I said that a Mono Blue deck is not viable in ZEN Block. That was true. But then I said Blue doesn't even work as a splash in the format. And that was a mistake. A huge one.

And I want to start this week's article by showing you why that was a mistake and how Blue could operate as a second color in ZEN Block.

Onward to the first deck!


DECK #1:
White/Blue Control
version 1.0

Since weeks there is this Blue card from Zendikar that I keep looking at.

Magic designers love creating 5/5 Blue flyers for six mana. The first such creatures that come to my mind are Keiga, the Tide Star from CHK Block, Cerulean Sphinx from RAV Block and Quicksilver Dragon from ONS Block. And apparently Shinx of Jwar Isle is the new generation of 5/5 flying Blue fatties.

Two weeks ago in my Zendikar review article I mentioned this one but there I talked about its gametext mainly. In ZEN Block that gametext doesn't mean much. All the other things about it, however, mean a lot (especially the shroud part).

So I started searching for options, for other cards, for cool card interaction that I can use this new Sphinx with. And after a few failed trials, I ended up with this one.

WHITE/BLUE CONTROL a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

25 Lands

4x Sejiri Refuge
2x Marsh Flats
2x Scalding Tarn
4x Kabira Crossroads
3x Plains
10x Island

9 Creatures

4x Sphinx of Jwar Isle
2x Sphinx of Lost Truths
3x Kor Sanctifiers

26 Other Spells

4x Journey to Nowhere
4x Ior Ruin Expedition
4x Cancel
4x Day of Judgment
4x Into the Roil
4x Pitfall Trap
2x Paralyzing Grasp

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Spell Pierce
1x Kor Sanctifiers
2x Paralyzing Grasp
4x Devout Lightcaster
4x Sunspring Expedition

Sphinx of Jwar Isle clearly belongs to a Control deck and Zendikar offers some real high quality cards for this strategy. So what do I do with this deck? Well, just like any other Control deck, early game I do not much but build my mana base and deal with the opposing creatures with the tools you also see above. My "gain life" lands also help me to overcome the first opposing waves of creature attacks. And in the meantime I draw cards with Ior Ruin Expedition to keep a full hand.

I have a few words about this Expedition by the way.

This card really breaks my heart. I used to play Brainstorm, Fact or Fiction, Ancestral VisionCompulsive Research, Tidings and lately Jace Beleren for card drawing and now look at what we have. As many mentioned on various forums, WotC really killed card drawing in Standard and Ior Ruin Expedition is just another proof of that fact. And the real irony is that the best card drawing spell currently in Standard is Sign in Blood which isn't even Blue!

Anyway, back to the deck...

As I said, the plan is to repel the attacks from my opponent with my removal spells, gain life with my lands, counter a few spells with Cancel, draw some cards and destroy all creatures with Day of Judgment if they get too boring and basically slow down the pace of the game as much as I could. That is of course until I play my Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Then the clock starts ticking for my opponent.

By the way, as you can also see, I have three Kor Sanctifiers in the main deck. Heavy ZEN Block play testing showed me that this creature is main deck material. All colors including Red, play enchantments and there is no reason to keep this creature in the sideboard. From opposing Luminarch Ascensions to Zektar Shrine Expeditions, from Bloodchief Ascension of Vampires to Adventuring Gear of Kor Weenie decks, there is always a target for Kor Sanctifiers in each main deck out there.

Okay, in theory every deck works like a charm but how well does it do against the field in reality? Well, I played a lot of games with this deck and to be honest, my first results were very interesting. I kept winning against Vampires (even though not always), against  decks fueled by Lotus Cobra and/or its  version with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and I even won against Mono Red many times which surprised me the most.

But there was only one deck that caused me a lot of troubles. Which one you ask?

It was this one...


Red/White Landfall Aggro

One doesn't have to be a Pro Tour winner to see the potential in this duo:

Mono Red Goblins decks already play Goblin Guide and this furious Insect together, but what happens if you add another vicious hunter to the mix? Well, you will end up with a list that will most probably be the "Deck to Beat" list of ZEN Block; at least until Worldwake is released in winter.

First take a look at the deck and then we'll talk. 

RED/WHITE LANDFALL AGGRO a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

22 Lands

4x Arid Mesa
2x Marsh Flats
4x Scalding Tarn
4x Plains
6x Mountain
2x Teetering Peaks

24 Creatures

4x Steppe Lynx
4x Goblin Guide
4x Plated Geopede
4x Goblin Bushwhacker
4x Kor Skyfisher
4x Goblin Ruinblaster

14 Other Spells

4x Punishing Fire
4x Burst Lightning
4x Zektar Shrine Expedition
2x Adventuring Gear

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Unstable Footing
4x Cliff Threader
4x Blazing Torch
3x Inferno Trap

This deck is a blast to play, I can tell you that much. The synergy between cards is extraordinary. And also please note that the deck is almost all Commons. A single Lotus Cobra may cost a fortune and a playset of Day of Judgment may be equal to an even bigger fortune. But defeating the players playing those cards with these Commons... well, that is just priceless!!!

The deck uses the best Landfall creatures of Red and White and also tons of fetchlands to take advantage of this new mechanic. Kor Skyfisher is one of the most interesting creatures in the deck. A 2/3 flyer for is already a bargain but the real use of it is to send back that Teetering Peaks to use it again the next turn. Which of course creates another round of Landfall craziness.

Steppe Lynx is the superstar of the deck together with Plated Geopede. And a Steppe Lynx equiped with an Adventuring Gear is one of the best things you can do with the deck. A 8/9 giant Cat is no joke trust me.

And a few words about the sideboard: Well, I will be honest with you here. I never used any of the cards you see in the sideboard. Not even Blazing Torch against Vampires. The main deck is so good, I really don't know what to cut for any of the cards in the sideboard. If the opponent is playing Vampires, one may replace two Adventuring Gears with two Blazing Torches. But trust me once again; that weakens the deck.

If you can think of a better sideboard and/or if you know what to side in and what to side out against specific decks, please let me know as well.

Okay, you may now wonder if this deck has any flaws or enemies. Yes it has both flaws and enemies. 

The biggest enemy of this deck is Mass Removal. And unfortunately, Zendikar has many nice Mass Removal spells. Check these out: 

The Full Wrath The Midi Wrath The Mini Wrath

So far I personally haven't met anyone playing Lavaball Trap. But the other two are being played nonstop. And therefore it takes some skill to pilot this deck. You just cannot blindly play all your threats and attack. Any Control deck plays a turn four Day of Judgment. It's almost a rule. It always happens. And Vampires will clear the board with their Marsh Casualties even sooner than Control decks. Perhaps not in the first game but you can be 110% sure that they will side it in for the second game.

But of course with a simple trick you can play around Marsh Casualties. Just keep a fetchland on table and do not crack it. It will be your creatures' life insurance. And of course sometimes you get lucky and play a turn one Goblin Guide which after attacking reveals a Marsh Casualties. This of course helps you greatly to plan ahead.

From the enemies of the deck, let's move onto the flaws of the deck. Actually there is only one. The mana base. This deck would be almost invincible if it had access to:

4x Plateau
4x Sacred Foundry
4x Battlefield Forge

But unfortunately that is only a sweet dream. Sometimes you start with a hand that has two Plains, one Marsh Flats and no White cards. Or sometimes you start with two Steppe Lynx and one Kor Skyfisher and three Mountains. Or sometimes you start with a good mix of mana but all you have is burn spells, one Adventuring Gear, one Zektar Shrine Expedition but no Steppe Lynx or Goblin Guide or even Plated Geopede, and the first creature you play is a Goblin Ruinblaster on turn three.

Of course there is a "thing" called Mulligan but one less card is one less chance for victory. This deck plays its cards very fast and therefore every single card counts. But I think that the deck is worth taking the risk.

Okay, let's conclude this one. I can tell you from my personal experience that this is one of the best decks in the format. It is of course not invincible, but it is so fast that it eats every slow deck alive. The rest is up to the starting hands of both players.

Speaking of slow decks, maybe not all are that bad. Please allow me to re-visit and allow me to give it a second try.


White/Blue Control
version 2.0

The first deck at the beginning is nice. Really, it is good in what it is doing. And even though the  deck above isn't its best match-up, it can handle it. And yes, Sphinx of Jwar Isle is a great finisher. But heavy playtesting revealed one other tiny problem. A problem with sharp teeth.

A smart player playing Vampires knows very well how to play around Day of Judgment and Sphinx of Jwar Isle. He only plays his Bloodchief Ascension and one threat at a time. He doesn't play a second creature unless that second creature is Bloodghast. And he waits for you to find a solution to that creature. Did you play your Journey to Nowhere? Okay, he then plays another creature. He forces you to spend your Day of Judgment on a single Vampire Nighthawk or a single Bloodwitch of Malakir.

But he never plays his Gatekeeper of Malakir. And guess why.

I played many times against Vampires and won all my games against reckless players. But sadly lost most of my games against smart ones. And that was the reason why I wanted to do something about the deck. Sphinx of Jwar Isle was nice and all but it wasn't enough. I needed something else. Actually I needed exactly this:

WHITE/BLUE CONTROL v.2 a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

26 Lands

4x Sejiri Refuge
2x Marsh Flats
2x Scalding Tarn
4x Kabira Crossroads
5x Plains
9x Island

6 Creatures

3x Sphinx of Lost Truths
3x Kor Sanctifiers

28 Other Spells

4x Luminarch Ascension
4x Into the Roil
4x Ior Ruin Expedition
4x Journey to Nowhere
4x Cancel
4x Pitfall Trap
4x Day of Jugment

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Devout Lightcaster
1x Kor Sanctifiers
2x Rite of Replication
4x Spell Pierce
4x Sunspring Expedition

I will not talk about this deck a lot because it is not something new but rather an evolved version of the first deck. I removed Sphinx of Jwar Isle and made Luminarch Ascension my primary win condition. Results? Well, much better than the first deck's results.

Gatekeeper of Malakir is no longer a threat for me but this time I have to watch out for Vampire Hexmage and opposing Kor Sanctifiers. But still, twelve removal, four bounce and four counterspells are really enough to deal with any Aggro deck. And after you start the Luminarch Ascension engine, there is really not much to do for the opponent.

But even this deck had problems against the  Aggro deck you saw above. Day of Judgment is a turn four spell. And turn four sometimes means the end of the game against that deck. And therefore I decided to add another sweeper to the deck which was of course Marsh Casualties.

And this leads us to the next deck.


DECK #4:
Black/White Life Gain

This is a deck I started building the first day and perfected on the last one. It really took a lot of time to come up with something that made me happy. Actually the starting point of the deck was giving a lot of clues about where it was heading.

Eight Mass Removal spells is not something every Aggro deck can overcome. But the question I couldn't answer for a long time was this: What to do with eight Mass Removal spells?

For a long time I tried creatureless decks which ended up as horrible failures.  decks cannot afford to play zero creatures; not at least in ZEN Block. And just because I couldn't figure out what to do with this idea, I stopped thinking about it for a long time. But then one day I opened the .dec file and build the deck all of a sudden and did so in seconds and it worked like a charm.

Here it is:

BLACK & WHITE  a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

26 Lands

4x Marsh Flats
4x Verdant Catacombs
4x Kabira Crossroads
5x Plains
10x Swamp

15 Creatures

4x Vampire Hexmage
4x Vampire Nighthawk
4x Bloodwitch of Malakir
3x Felidar Sovereign

19 Other Spells

4x Journey to Nowhere
4x Marsh Casualties
4x Day of Judgment
3x Sorin Markov
1x Blood Tribute
1x Celestial Mantle
1x Feast of Blood
1x Hideous End

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Devout Lightcaster
2x Kor Sanctifiers
3x Hideous End
3x Mind Sludge
3x Gatekeeper of Malakir

First of all let me tell you this: Weenie decks are a piece of cake. Vampires, Mono White Kor, the Landfall Aggro... none mean much. First of all I play four Wrath of Gods and four Pyroclasms which is very important. But more importantly, I have the tool which all Aggro decks hate; life gain.

I gain life with almost every card in the deck. I gain life with my lands. I gain life with my creatures. I gain life with my planeswalker, with my sorceries, with my removal spells and with my enchantment. You deal four damage with your Steppe Lynx and I gain four life the next turn with my Feast of Blood which also kills your cat. You manage to bring me down to five life with your Mono Red Goblins and I cast one Blood Tribute and we change roles.

By the way don't let Felidar Sovereign mislead you. My primary aim is not to achieve an alternate win.  I like the creature even without its gametext. A 4/6 vigilance and lifelink creature for is always a bargain.

Another very important weapon in deck is Magic's latest transfer from Rumania; Sorin Markov. Without doubt, Sorin is the best planeswalker in Zendikar. And playtesting showed me that he is even better than he looks on paper. And by the way, controlling the opponent's next turn is so much fun. You play his Emeria Angel first from his hand and then send the creature to oblivion with his own Journey to Nowhere. So much fun!

The sideboard is also very versatile and offers some nice solutions to some specific threats. Against Vampires I side in Devout Lightcaster, against Control decks I side in Gatekeeper of Malakir as well as Mind Sludge, and against decks with lots of enchantments I side in Kor Sanctifiers to help my Vampire Hexmages in the main deck.

So as you see, this deck has everything a Control player needs... well okay almost everything. It's primary target is weenie decks and I can tell you that this deck handles them perfectly.

But what if we get even greedier? What if we like to turn this deck into a real control deck by adding Blue to it? You know, counterspells, card drawing, bounce and Sphinxes. After all, who doesn't like a good riddle?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to...




Sharuum the Hegemon would love to see this place. It's Esper in Zendikar and thus it's called Zensper. First the deck list and then the talking.

ZENSPER a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

25 Lands

4x Sejiri Refuge
4x Jwar Isle Refuge
4x Marsh Flats
4x Swamp
5x Island
4x Plains

6 Creatures

3x Sphinx of Lost Truths
3x Kor Sanctifiers

29 Other Spells

4x Cancel
4x Expedition Map
4x Ior Ruin Expedition
3x Into the Roil
4x Journey to Nowhere
4x Luminarch Ascension
4x Day of Judgment
2x Sorin Markov

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Sunspring Expedition
3x Desecrated Earth
3x Devout Lightcaster
3x Marsh Casualties
1x Into the Roil
1x Kor Sanctifiers

And this dear readers, is the ultimate step of Control decks in Zendikar. I actually had the idea of building a Zensper deck before even I build my first deck for the format but I wasn't so sure how well it would do without Green's aid for mana fixing. Without Harrow and Lotus Cobra, it isn't that easy to play a three color deck in the format.

But then I said "let's at least try". And the first results of playtesting proved that playing so many colors without Green wasn't really a great idea. And just when I was about to give up the idea, I came across that one card.

I believe that most of us make the same mistake about Expedition Map. We all misread it. Or in other words, we don't read it carefully. What am I talking about?

Well, it doesn't say "Search your library for a basic land card". It says "Search your library for a land card". Any land. Basic or nonbasic doesn't matter. Do you see now how valuable it is?

Oh and by the way, I'm sure it will be even more valuable for 100 Card Singleton players.

Anyway, in my first attempts to build a three color deck without Green,  I always overlooked this one and failed horribly. I ended up with one Plains, two Islands and one Swamp and a Day of Judgment in hand. Or a Sorin Markov but no  to cast him, or I had to let my opponent cast a very crucial spell even though I had Cancel in hand, just because I had the wrong mana combination in play.

But all changed after I added Expedition Map to the deck.

So, with the aid of this fine map I search for my lands, and my eight duals already make things easier for me. And then when I have everything under control, I start filling my Luminarch Ascension with counters, draw cards with my Sphinx and win the game from there.

Against faster decks I side in Sunspring Expedition and Marsh Casualties, against Vampires I side in Devout Lightcaster and against other Control decks I mainly side in Desecrated Earth to mess up with their mana base and slow them down.

Okay dear readers, I think we all had enough of Control decks in ZEN Block. Let's move onto the last deck of the article which is a nice mid range aggro deck and which uses the best cards of Zendikar.


Mana Ramp

We all know that Zendikar is full with very nice cards. We all keep saying that. And we also say that Landfall is an amazing ability. So why not use all those nice cards in one deck that also takes advantage of Landfall? Can it be done? Is it possible?

You bet it is.

MANA RAMP a ZEN Block deck by Nafiz Erman

24 Lands

4x Marsh Flats
4x Verdant Catacombs
4x Graypelt Refuge
3x Plains
4x Swamp
4x Forest
1x Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

22 Creatures

4x Lotus Cobra
4x Vampire Nighthawk
2x Kor Sanctifiers
2x Oracle of Mul Daya
3x Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
4x Rampaging Baloths
2x Scute Mob
1x Iona, Shield of Emeria

14 Other Spells

2x Grim Discovery
4x Day of Judgment
4x Harrow
4x Journey to Nowhere

15 Cards Sideboard

3x Devout Lightcaster
3x Desecrated Earth
2x Kor Sanctifiers
4x Marsh Casualties
3x Grazing Gladehart

This deck is amazing. But actually it's absolutely normal that it's amazing. I mean look at all those cards in the deck! They are the best cards of ZEN Block. Green in this deck provides fast mana and fixes mana. And you don't understand how truly wonderful Oracle of Mul Daya is, until you actually play it. The combination of Landfall and this Elf Shaman is really very deadly.

I have Black in deck mainly because of Ob Nixilis, the Fallen. Unlike Oracle of Mul Daya, you don't need to play this Demon to see its power; you immediately see the potential in it by just looking at it. But playing it is a totally mindblowing experience; especially when Oracle of Mul Daya is also on table.

Black also gives me Vampire Nighthawk which I use early game as protection and also Grim Discovery. Let me remind you that this is a Landfall deck and therefore I would love to play that Verdant Catacombs of mine once again. And besides, resurrecting a dead creature is never a bad thing.

And finally White gives me protection. But it also gives me Kor Sanctifiers. I think that the most important lesson you learned in this article is the importance of main deck answers to enchantments. Vampire Hexmage will do just fine if you are playing Vampires but in any other case Kor Sanctifiers will be your savior.

/addbuddy Kor Sanctifiers for safer journeys on Zendikar

And finally the sideboard. As this is a Landfall deck, Grazing Gladehart makes a lot of sense. Yes it dies to a simple Burst Lightning but you can't live with the fear of removal. I side it in against weenie decks and let my opponent deal with it.

And finally a few words about Desecrated Earth: I recently found out that it is even better than Goblin Ruinblaster; at least in some cases.

Lately I was playing against a Mono White Control deck which was very similar to the one deck I showed you last week. I won the first game, my opponent won the second one and we were playing the final game. After playing some Kor Cartographers and some Expedition Maps, my opponent managed to have three Emeria, the Sky Ruins and six Plains on table without too much of a trouble. His graveyard was also full with nasty creatures at that time and he was only one land away from activating three(!) Emeria, the Sky Ruins all at the same time.

During my turn I attacked with my creatures and he blocked them all and happily sent his own creatures to his graveyard and played his seventh Plains during his turn.

During my turn I played Desecrated Earth. He was once again at six Plains. He played his seventh Plains during his turn but it was too late.

I attacked with everything and won.

As you see, if you have access to black mana, you definitely have to have this card in your sideboard. Most of the time it sits idly in your sideboard but when you need it, it most definitely gets the job done as you can also see in the above example.



Okay dear readers, these were the multicolor decks I was playing with lately in ZEN Block. Of course there are many other possible decks out there. Some play Mono White Kor Weenie decks. Some play Allies. Some play decks (which is a good deck I must add). I've also seen people playing a different form of  Zensper deck. Also some play an interesting form of mid range deck with Sphinx of Lost Truths and Roil Elemental. But the four decks I presented you last week and these six deck of this week are my favorite ones for the format.

It's of course up to you to decide which deck you will play. But recently I played a lot of ZEN Block games and if I may humbly suggest a deck to you, it would be one of these:


This is really an excellent deck. If you like to be on the safer side, then this is your deck. It has very nice removal, very nice utility creatures, very nice beaters, board sweepers and it even has a planeswalker. It's hard not to like this one.

+'s: Mentioned above.
-'s: Easy to hate, predictable, no answer to some enchantments.


Another fine deck. Its ability to generate mana is unheard of from any other White decks in history and thanks to its high quality removals, it can make the game last much longer than the opponent would like. And during late game this deck is clearly the king.

+'s: Its ability to gain life, its excellent removals, excellent creatures.
-s: Too slow against some dedicated weenie decks, too dependent on Day of Judgment.


Clearly one of the best decks in the format. This deck even makes a turn four Day of Judgment meaningless. This deck should be the first choice of Aggro players.

+'s: Incredibly fast.
-'s: Could experience mana problems, dies to Control decks with life gain and mass removal.


This is one of my favorite decks and it has the best cards for a Control deck. It draws cards, it counters spells, it has nice removals, it has the best planeswalker in the format and it can create an unending army of 4/4 flyers.

+'s: Mentioned above.
-'s: Slow, could experience mana problems even though it has Expedition Map, very vulnurable to Goblin Ruinblaster and Desecrated Earth.


Not always playing the best cards of a format together will result in a Tier-1 deck. But this is not such a case. Excellent mana fixing, amazing beasts and great removal makes this another very important deck of the format.

+'s: Mentioned above.
-'s: This deck faces serious problems if not allowed to mana ramp and/or fails to mana ramp on its own.

These are the decks I can suggest to you. All others are also very nice, especially the  Life Gain deck and the second Control deck, but these five decks are my favorite.

Just because I am a Control player, I don't think I will be playing Vampires and/or  Landfall Aggro. Most probably I will try Zensper or that Mono White Control deck. And what about you? What do you think you'll play? Let me know below in the comments.

Okay dear readers, it is once again time to say goodbye. I hope you enjoyed our two week ride into the depths of Zendikar. And as always, thanks for reading.

See you online
Nafiz Erman, aka Lord Erman


Only 4 "dear readers" this by StealthBadger at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:49
StealthBadger's picture

Only 4 "dear readers" this week? A record!

I'm interested by your logic in swapping jwarr Isle out for Ascenscion in order to get around gatekeeper of malakir. Surely once your vampire opponent notes that you're playing ascenscion rather than sphinx, he'll just hold back hexmage instead? I see that you'll have a couple of turns to deal with hexmage before it becomes an issue, but that's only because it takes a few turns to activate ascension. It is easier to drop with cancel mana up though, which is what could be relevent in my opinion. Interestingly, I decided to test Conquerer's pledge as a 2-of in a similar deck (I split 2-pledge, 2-sphinx of JI). It's decent post mass-removal, and is very good against the boros style decks. Not as stunning against vampires, but against vampires, tapping out for anything seems to be met by malakir bloodwitch, which is why I'm still so keen on sphinx.

Anyway, interesting article. I have an interesting Valakut "combo" deck which I might post up later.

You can't never stop yourself by Klemzo at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 12:43
Klemzo's picture

You can't never stop yourself from saying an idiotic entrance comment to every single article you comment? Not a record!

Anyway Erman, it was a lovely read as always, nice decks, wish they would see more battle soon enough. Can't wait for tomorrow's release to start making my own ones (got some great "outlooks" already)! :)

Really only 4 this time? Wow, by Lord Erman at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:00
Lord Erman's picture

Really only 4 this time? Wow, that's truely disappointing I have to admit. I promise to work harder in the coming weeks on this and will not let this happen again.

There is one thing you miss about Gatekeeper and Hexmage. Gatekeeper kills my lone Sphinx; end of the story. Hexmage, however, doesn't destroy my Ascension. It only removes the counters. Which only means that the game will last a little bit longer.

And please do not forget that it is much easier to play an Ascension and to protect it with Cancel and/or Into the Roil against all kinds of threats, than it is to play AND protect the Sphinx. Also the bounce spell doesn't work on the Sphinx.

So I'm still thinking that my logic is correct.


Wow. I will remember not to by StealthBadger at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:38
StealthBadger's picture

Wow. I will remember not to make tiny and not remotely offensive jokes again.. Seriously, you both know perfectly well that was just a tiny gest about a repeated phrase, and does not warrent an argument.

About sphinx v ascension;
How realistically can you hold off vampires damaging you for 4 turns (7 if they have a hexmage)? I know you're running a lot of removal, but won't bloodghast just hit you anyway, even if you can kill everything else?
In non-vampires matchups, isn't sphinx better against a lot of the other decks you've posted, as the format looks to be reasonably aggressive to me, and in the sparse testing i've done, I haven't had a lot of luck getting ascension active, and have noticed that vampires is the only deck with an edict effect, so against non-vampire decks, sphinx would be easier to protect?
w.r.t. conquerors pledge, it's just something i'm testing, but i think it's disadvantages outweight it's advantages overall.

One final thing; what're the 2 scalding tarns for? Is it just for ior-ruin expedition or am i missing something? I see that they work nicely with sphinx, but what about in the other list?

As I said in my last post, I like your article, and I have no idea why my posts keep getting interpreted as rude. I simply want to discuss some ideas for the U/W deck, as I have been testing something similar.

I didn't say I found your by Lord Erman at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:44
Lord Erman's picture

I didn't say I found your joke offensive. On the contrary, I tried to ironize myself in my reply but apparently it came out as I was mad. No I wasen't at all and in fact I even found it funny.


Great article. Hopefully by onefinemess (not verified) at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 13:07
onefinemess's picture

Great article.
Hopefully after a month or two of drafting I'll be able to run some of these decks. Not holding my breath on the ones with cobra though :p.

RW landfall looks pretty similar to a deck I was messing with in beta, and I'll probably do something similar if only because it's affordable.

I've got a soft spot in my heart for shroudy sphinx, it's a shame more cards in block don't take advantage of his ability. Lot's of fun in standard though :).

its the internet, lol we dont by ShardFenix at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 15:46
ShardFenix's picture

its the internet, lol we dont have sarcasm font yet, so watch it

RW Landfall Deck by ArchGenius at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 16:44
ArchGenius's picture

"This deck (RW Landfall) is a blast to play, I can tell you that much. The synergy between cards is extraordinary. And also please note that the deck is almost all Commons. A single Lotus Cobra may cost a fortune and a playset of Day of Judgment may be equal to an even bigger fortune. But defeating the players playing those cards with these Commons... well, that is just priceless!!!"

Although most of the business spells are commons, the actual pricetag of the deck is pretty close to the other decks when you need so many (10) expensive Fetchlands. A playset of Arid Mesas is pretty close in price to a playset of Day of Judgements.

I'm probably going to try the RW landfall deck out, but it's going to take me a while to get all those fetchlands. I'm hoping their price will come down to reasonable levels after the release events, however the fetchlands are going to be staples in every format they can be played, so they just might retain their value....

Zendikar is going to be by bjbrains at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 16:45
bjbrains's picture

Zendikar is going to be drafted *really* heavily. I wouldn't worry about prices being too high.

See MED3 for a partial example.

MED3 is not a really great by ArchGenius at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 17:16
ArchGenius's picture

MED3 is not a really great example because the duals for MED3 are only usable in classic and 100CS which has a much much smaller demand/player base than Standard and Zendikar Block will have.

I think the duals from M2010 is a better price example, however I don't think the market will be as flooded with Zendikar as it was with M2010.

Well, MED3 wasn't drafted as by bjbrains at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 18:40
bjbrains's picture

Well, MED3 wasn't drafted as heavily as ZEN will be. I bet we'll see bigger numbers for ZEN than for m10, although the fetches will have much more value than the M10 duals ever did.

zendikar by speks at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 14:47
speks's picture

i think the market will be much more flooded with zendikar than m10 or ME3 or any prior set in mtgo history, with online PTQ's that uses zendikar sealed AND people practicing for an entire paper PTQ season of zendikar sealed. the amount of interest out there in zendikar limited formats on mtgo is pretty much unprecedented.

I still don't own my online by Lord Erman at Tue, 10/20/2009 - 16:47
Lord Erman's picture

I still don't own my online fetchlands yet but instead I play a STD version of the deck with 4x Terramorphic Expanse + 2 Naya Panorama. It's still a blast to play trust me.


First, that comments about by pierrebai (not verified) at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 14:49
pierrebai's picture

First, that comments about white fetching lands like no time in history... i believe there a tax assessor that would like to have a word with you and verify that you don't own more lands than he does.

Second, Goblin Guide is a rare. An undestandable omission since it certainly doesn't feel like one, spoiled as we are with 2/2 for one mana left and right.

Third, I take it that the Sphinx of Lost Truths "draw 3" makes it more important than having a shrouded 5/5 body in the Control v2 and Zensper? Have you tested it or was it so obvious that it doesn't warrant (not warrent :) ) testing?

Great article, my dear writer.

I tested all the decks in by Lord Erman at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 15:16
Lord Erman's picture

I tested all the decks in this article (and in the previous one). Some more than the others and that Zensper deck belongs to the "more" category and not "the others" one as it fits my playstyle so well.

And yes, it is very important to draw cards when playing that deck. I saw that I had to have always some kind of removal in hand, as most of the time I was playing against Aggro decks (and some really fast ones). You would be amazed to see how fast you "spend" your cards and sit with an empty hand unless you do something extra. Of course the deck started with the shroud sphinx but testing showed that I need more cards.

And yes, I'm aware that Goblin Guide is a rare :).

Thanks for the comment dear reader :).


Rules Question... by mysticknight232 (not verified) at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 17:44
mysticknight232's picture

Can you Hindering Light a kicked Kor Sanctifiers if it's targeting an artifact or enchantment you control? It seems like you can, but just not sure.

Nope. Hindering Light by spg at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 18:13
spg's picture

Nope. Hindering Light counters a spell, Kor Sanctifiers produces a triggered ability that allows you to destroy an artifact or enchantment.

Stifle would work.

I'm also wondering about the by Shaterri at Wed, 10/21/2009 - 20:02
Shaterri's picture

I'm also wondering about the MWC "Its ability to generate mana is unheard of from any other White decks in history" comment — specifically, what does this white deck have that actually lets it generate mana? I'm not sure 'Play 28 lands' qualifies as an unheard-of ability... especially when you consider that the MWC decks back in Onslaught block, for instance, had Temple of the False God as a sort of accelleration to their big spells, *and* had Eternal Dragon to make sure that they literally found a Plains every single turn in the late game. That's not to say that this is a bad deck, of course, just that I think you're really missing the merits of the deck and what makes it tick.

Ah... I only wanted to use a by Lord Erman at Thu, 10/22/2009 - 10:26
Lord Erman's picture

Ah... I only wanted to use a few words to exaggerate that deck's ability to generate mana and apparently I exaggerated it a little bit more than I intended to. And it seems that some readers found it disturbing somehow.

Of course I heard about a card called Land Tax. Of course I know everything there is to know about Temple of the False God or Eternal Dragon. But hey, it isn't such a biggie!

I thank you all for taking your time and reading my articles throughoutly. I thank you all once more and even more sincerely for commenting. And as I said above, I ment no harm and wanted to show things a tiny little bit(!) bigger than they normally are, but it seems that my exaggeration was a little bit too much and I'm sorry for that.

Okay, let's enjoy and discuss the rest of the article :)!


Zensper by Paul (not verified) at Fri, 10/23/2009 - 19:46
Paul's picture

I like the list, but I left wondering why not 2/2 Explorer's Map/Khalni Gem rather than 4 Map? They are both excellent for fixing mana, if in different ways. Yes the Gem is a bit expensive and doesnt do much for you before turn 4 (well turn 5 for anything costing more than 2) but it gives you 2 more landfall triggers to get your cards from Ior Ruin Exploration sooner and gives basically ensures you wont have any more mana problems after it is in play. From turn 4 on Khalni Gem seems much better than spending 2 mana to search a land.

Hi Paul. To be honest, I by Lord Erman at Sat, 10/24/2009 - 04:28
Lord Erman's picture

Hi Paul. To be honest, I haven't tested Khalni Gem at all. And just because, as you say, it costs 4 to play. Expedition Map is flexible; you can play it on your first turn and then use it whenever you want.

And finally a turn 4 Khalni Gem followed by opponent's Kor Sanctifiers destroying it and leaving you at 2 lands, wouldn't be that nice I think. Yes that won't happen always but when it does, it may mean gg very soon.

However, it is definately worth trying. As you say, it also helps activating the Expetidition sooner and solves all mana problems.

Thanks for the comment.