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By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
Feb 24 2014 1:00pm
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Hello dear readers and welcome to Rogue Play. Every player who enjoys the deck building part of the game, needs a starting point for a new deck. Because every deck starts with an idea, and ideas come from cards (unless you're building a theme deck). For a Timmy, it can be that nice and juicy fattie. A Johnny can find the one card that makes him say "Huh? How to use this?", very attractive. For him, solving that puzzle is a joy all by itself.

For me on the other hand, that one card must be interesting without doubt; but at the same time it should also be something that will win me games. In my previous article that card was Vraska the Unseen. This time it's this one:

Trading Post

But I must tell you this much; "breaking" this card was not easy.

 

RESEARCH IS GOOD

To be completely honest, the first time I saw this card, it didn't make much sense to me. I was simply amazed by its art but that was pretty much it. The second time I was looking for an idea, I again came across this card. But again, it didn't ring any bells. I looked at it and came to the conclusion that it was either designed for some ultra casual deck or for some... uhmm... well, there couldn't be a second option. So it was definitely not what I was looking for. Most probably there were some "broken" combos with it using some Mirage or Tempest cards(!!), but I wasn't really looking for something like that.

But the third time I saw this one, I stopped a bit longer and looked at it for some time. I couldn't really figure out what to do with it but I realized that it was making me stop every time I was seeing it. There was something special about it but I just didn't know what. So I decided to check the internet and see what other people did with it.

I wasn't expecting anything spectacular but right at the very first link I saw that I was horribly wrong. This card was actually "huge"! Some pro player even said something like "a planeswalker that can't be attacked" for it. I was like "Wow, really?".

Trading Post is a planeswalker that can't be attacked.

I examined each link but almost all of them (including one that led me to an old article here on puremtgo) showed me that same deck. A White/Blue Control deck that was stalling the game and was winning with planeswalkers after that. 

I found the deck incredibly boring but at least I found the missing parts for my own version. I saw these two:

Prophetic Prism Codex Shredder

I had absolutely no desire to make a clone of that White/Blue Control deck, but I was going to take these two cards from it. So as you see, research is good. Sometimes you don't know what to do and where to go, but a quick surf on the net shows you one or two interactions, or cards you missed out. And basically that's all you need.

So I started a blank deck, added these cards to it and started thinking.

A Trading Post Deck Wannabe
Under Construction
Creatures
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Trading Post
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Codex Shredder
9 cards
Lands
0 cards
 
Trading Post

 

So this was a good beginning. But I needed a direction. Where was I going to from here?

 

TRIAL & ERROR... BUT MOSTLY ERROR

So there I was looking at those four abilities on Trading Post. Last one, the "sacrifice an artifact, draw card", part was solved. Putting a Goat token on the battlefield was also clear. A blocker if needed, and a creature to sacrifice to get used artifacts back. But I had no idea what to do with the first ability; the "discard a card, gain life" one. Also there had to be more than just a bunch of Goat tokens to use the third ability.

My first idea was to abuse this Festering Newt. But I soon found out that this was a dead end. It was simply too much work for too little gain.

After hitting one dead end, I found myself looking at another one; this time it was this:

Volatile Rig

Some cards look awesome in theory but you really have to play them in real games to understand if they really work or not. Volatile Rig seemed perfect to me at first glance. It was an artifact, it was doing something relevant when sacrificed to Trading Post, so I said "That's it!". Play testing sadly proved otherwise.

First it was random. There was no guarantee that it was going to deal four damage when sacrificed to Trading Post. Also it says "to each player". Playtesting showed that in Aggro match-ups I was simply helping my opponent with Volatile Rig. I insisted though; I added more life gain to the deck but at some point I realized that I lost all my focus. I was trying to make Trading Post work, and I ended up with a non-functioning life gain deck.

So two dead ends, and I had nothing useful in front of me. And I still had to figure out what to do with the "discard a card, gain life" part of Trading Post. And then I found this:

Ashen Rider

A reanimation deck! Now that was an idea!

 

DECK TAKING SHAPE

I had now all abilities of Trading Post covered. I was going to abuse Prophetic Prism for card advantage, and I was going to discard Ashen Rider with its first ability. Then I was going to reanimate it, and sacrifice again to Trading Post. Awesome!

First I searched a Zombify variant. Then I looked for something that was going to abuse Ashen Rider even more. And I found these two cards:

Obzedat's Aid Gift of Immortality

Gift of Immortality may seem a bit "win more" at first; and to be honest I was thinking the same before testing as well. But as I said above, theory is one thing, real action is another. In practice I saw that it was actually very useful, so I kept one copy in the final list (more on that below in testing section).

And there I stopped and took a look at the deck. I was pretty satisfied with the direction it was going.

A Trading Post Reanimator Deck Taking Shape
Under Construction
Creatures
3 Ashen Rider
3 cards

Other Spells
4 Trading Post
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Obzedat's Aid
1 Codex Shredder
1 Gift of Immortality
13 cards
Lands
0 cards
 
Ashen Rider

 

From there I faced a few other dead ends again. I wanted to keep this as a two colored deck, added some irrelevant cards, even tried Liliana of the Dark Realms and failed, then tried Festering Newt again for some reason and obviously failed again... ah well, the life of a deck builder is sometimes unbearable.

My problem in all those early test games was actually mass removal. Aggro decks were everywhere! And even though Merciless Eviction looked nice to me in theory, it was way too slow in practice. So I gave up and turned this into a three colored deck. Main reason was of course Supreme Verdict. I just couldn't find a way of not playing it.

Adding Blue also gave me cards like Far/Away and Detention Sphere. And after adding those removal spells, the deck looked like this:

Almost Finished
Under Construction
Creatures
3 Ashen Rider
3 cards

Other Spells
4 Trading Post
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Detention Sphere
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Hero's Downfall
3 Obzedat's Aid
2 Far/Away
1 Codex Shredder
1 Gift of Immortality
26 cards
Lands
0 cards
 
Supreme Verdict

 

Now it was time to make the final adjustments.

 

FINALIZING THE DECK

The deck's main cards were these but many others came in and went out during testing. Testing also revealed that I needed to draw more cards and faster. Thus I added Divination to the list. Then for the last two slots, I simply couldn't decide between these two for a long time:

Which one to pick?
Azorius Charm Dissolve

It wasn't an easy decision, believe me. But at the end I took the counterspell because I already had enough removal and card drawing in deck. So Dissolve it was.

From there I moved on to the final part of the deck which was adding lands. I automatically added four of each shocklands, two of each scrylands and a bunch of basic lands. But then during testing I realized something. Something I never thought about.

 
This definitely doesn't look very Casual.

My opponents didn't know that my deck was totally a casual deck. They only saw what I had on table in front of me. And on table I had the original Ravnica shocklands, brand new scrylands... even the basic lands were scary. 

And then there was something else: In my last article I said something like "If you don't have the shocklands, then play with gatelands". It's easy when you say it.

If you don't have these, play those.

So I said to myself "YOU play those lands Mr. Whoknowseverything, and see if your advice is valid". So I made some changes in my manabase.

I kept the scrylands, but replaced the shocklands with gatelands. Oh and selected some "harmless" Core Set basic lands as well.

And so dear readers, the deck was finished. And here's the full list:

 

I know that this list raises some eyebrows.

"Yeah well, it looks kind of nice, but does it really work?". 

And now it's time to see that. Let's move onto the battleground and see if this deck is a complete fail or success.

 

GAME 1:
Against Mono Red

This couldn't have gone any better. Supreme Verdict stopped the bleeding at eight life, leaving him creatureless. Next turn Trading Post came down and kept me alive with the life gain part, because my opponent started throwing nasty burn spells at me at that point. I discarded a land and then an Ashen Rider, gained eight life in total and stayed alive.

Seeing his burn spells getting him nowhere, he brought in two new creatures. At the end of turn I sac'ed my Prophetic Prism and got me my Obzedat's Aid. Next turn I played it and Ashen Rider exiled his "Jackal Pup-in-disguise" Satyr. His attempt to steal my mighty(!) Archon failed as I sacrificed him to Trading Post killing his last creature. Ah well, he should have known that greed is a bad thing.

From there it was easy. Brought in a second Trading Post, started that never-ending Prophetic Prism cycle with two Trading Posts, eventually got me my second Obzedat's Aid, countered something nasty in the meantime too, and Ashen Rider sealed the deal.

Overall: 1-0

 

GAME 2:
Against Black/Red Aggro

This game was similar to the first one but his deck was meaner. And the screenshot below should actually tell you all that happened in the game:

Two Detention Spheres, a Supreme Verdict, life gain with Trading Post, and then Obzedat's Aid into Ashen Rider... Basically, everything this deck was designed to do.

Overall: 2-0

 

GAME 3:
Against Green/White Aggro

Fleecemane Lion, Spear of Heliod, Loxodon Smiter, Fabled Hero, Advent of the Wurm, Precinct Captain.

Prophetic PrismDetention Sphere, Hero's Downfall, Far/Away, Supreme Verdict, Trading Post.

Ashen Rider.

Ashen Rider with Gift of Immortality.

....?

Profit Pain/Suffering!!!

Overall: 3-0

 

GAME 4:
Against Mono White Aggro

I got beaten by some crazy creatures during the first three turns, even that new Brimaz, King of Oreskos joined the party, but everything went as I planned from there. It was Supreme Verdict on turn four, Trading Post on turn five discarding an Ashen Rider, Obzedat's Aid on turn six. That was pretty much it.

Overall: 4-0

 

GAME 5:
Against White/Green Aggro

Another Aggro deck but the same game and the same result. Some early scary(!) creatures pumped by a Spear of Heliod, then my Supreme Verdict, then Detention Sphere getting rid of the Spear, then Trading Post discarding Ashen Rider and Obzedat's Aid cheating it into play... All the usual stuff!

Not even the Gods are safe against my Archon.

Five games and five wins against Aggro. That was nice!

Overall: 5-0

 

GAME 6:
Against Red/Green Gods

This was an interesting game. After three turns of doing nothing but playing lands, he started with a Purphoros, God of the Forge. I Detention Sphere'd it. He brought in a Polis Crusher and I had to Supreme Verdict it (because it looked scary and I had two in hand anyway). 

Next turn he brought in a Burning-Tree Emissary and another Polis Crusher and my second Supreme Verdict dealt with them easily. His Xenagos, God of Revels came down and stayed for a while, but I eventually drew a second Detention Sphere. Finally my Hero's Downfall got rid of his scary 12/12 Nessian Wilds Ravager. Getting angry, my opponent aimlessly sent two Lightning Strikes to me and emptied his hand.

From there I took control of the game and started playing (actually I was always in control of the game but yeah). Trading Post, Prophetic Prism, Codex Shredder sending his Red God from the top of his library to his graveyard, and then the usual stuff: Obzedat's Aid into Ashen Rider targeting his Green God.

I actually liked his deck. All those big monsters and gods were a nice idea. I might at some point try something similar.

Overall: 6-0

 

GAME 7: 
Against Mono Red

And I finally lost to Aggro. He just played two tiny creatures, pumped them with cards I didn't even read to be honest, and when I played my fourth land, it was already over.

Ouch!

I didn't have a Supreme Verdict but even if I did, the outcome would have been the same.

Overall: 6-1

 

GAME 8:
Against Another Red/Green Gods

Is this a deck that has been mentioned somewhere by someone important? Ah well, I don't mind. Midrange decks are in theory easy prey for me anyway. So it was the usual drill: Sylvan Caryatid, Red god, Green god, that 4/4 for four Cyclops, that new Flame-Wreathed Phoenix... and then some Detention Spheres, Supreme Verdict, Trading Post and eventually Ashen Rider.

I can do this forever, you know...

Overall: 7-1

 

GAME 9:
Against Simic Devotion

Now this was a deck I never seen before. He started action with a third turn Master Biomancer, then the Blue god came down. My Supreme Verdict bought me some time killing his creatures, then a second Master Biomancer has been "pacified" with a Detention Sphere. After that, my Trading Post entered play. He then played Master of Waves and countered my attempt to kill him. 

Not looking too good.

But luckily I had my second Supreme Verdict in hand. A few turns later I found me my Obzedat's Aid thanks to Divination and Prophetic Prism, and cheated Ashen Rider into play. My opponent didn't give up though; he fought back but at that point I had two Trading Posts in front of me and those Goat tokens did their job.

His final effort to stop me was to play two Nightveil Specters, but both has been dealt with swiftly, and Ashen Rider once again won me the game.

Overall: 8-1

 

GAME 10:
Against Maze's End

I knew this deck. I saw a few articles about it here on Puremtgo a while ago. And recognized it as soon as the fourth gateland hit the table. As he was playing nothing to threaten me as in creatures, I took my time and built my master sinister plan(!!). And I was ready when he had eight of those gatelands in front of him with two Maze's Ends.

I cheated Ashen Rider into play, exiled one of his Maze's Ends, immediately sac'ed it to Trading Post and exiled the second. But did I stop there? Of course not!!! I was fighting against a top tier deck and I had NO intention of playing fair. Got my Ashen Rider back to the battlefield again and then did this to be exact:

I told you at the beginning that Gift of Immortality wasn't actually a "win more" card. See? In case it isn't clear, that's five damage plus two exiled gatelands per turn!

And when it all ended, that mighty(!) Maze's End deck was in ruins.

Everything gone.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this victory. My casual decks rarely win against top tier decks and this one was one of those rare occasions. I watched the replay after the game and enjoyed it even more!

Overall: 9-1

 

SUMMARY

And that was all dear readers. I hope you liked what I did with Trading Post. It really wasn't easy but the outcome was nice. Trading Post really is an interesting card and all those games only confirmed what that pro player once said:

Trading Post is a planeswalker that can't be attacked.

That is so true.

And before I finish and say goodbye, I want to ask you something. I want to know if you're okay with the format of Rogue Play. I mean, I first explain the deck in full detail in part one, go over each card and tell you my reason(s) for adding them to the deck. Then in part two I take the deck to testing and tell you how it plays in actual games.

Of course I can do the "hi all, here's the deck, baaam, now let's play" too. But my goal is to show you what goes on in the -twisted- mind of a deck builder. I want to show you how each card goes to the deck, how some cards don't etc... My Rogue Play series have always been more about deck building than bashing people on tables, and I actually want to continue that trend.

Even if you don't like the deck, I hope you at least enjoyed the deck building process. Because nowadays not many are brewing decks on their own. We're in the "age of copy/paste", so deck building is an almost forgotten aspect of the game.

And finally I believe the test games are important. Each and every deck looks awesome in theory. But do they really work? Testing is therefore important. I want to, or at least try to, show you how these decks perform against others. 

So all I hope is you like the format of Rogue Play. If you have suggestions, however, please make sure you let me know.

See you online
Nafiz Erman, aka Lord Erman

8 Comments

Another stellar article. by The D.K. at Mon, 02/24/2014 - 14:16
The D.K.'s picture
5

Awesome. I've never seen a deck so dedicated to breaking Ashen Rider and Trading Post, but this does it amazingly.

I found it funny how much the price of the deck shot up once you entered the "rounding it out" phase. Before that, the core of the deck wouldn't even cost you $10; after the addition of just the Verdicts, Spheres, and Downfalls, the deck shot up another 50 bucks. XD Guess that's another reason why those cards are so expensive, they round out decks so well.

Too bad Unburial Rites isn't still hanging around.

It is really terrific the way by Paul Leicht at Mon, 02/24/2014 - 14:20
Paul Leicht's picture
5

It is really terrific the way you bring us inside your mental processes while you are thinking about and designing decks. I really missed that and glad to see you back at it again. I said to AJ or Kuma (or both?) when Trading Post came out that it was an awesome card that people would overlook and that if you were still writing (at the time) you'd agree and probably have some kick ass combos with it. Glad to be proven correct on all accounts. :D

I've written about Aid, and Post and built many a Reanimator deck with the new exiler Archon but you have definitely built a fine, and unique addition to the collection of great casual decks.

You discussed it with me, by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:28
Kumagoro42's picture

You discussed it with me, Paul (and I told you, "Yes, this is not Druidic Satchel!" :P), but since then Trading Post was inducted in the Top 10 list of my all-time favorite cards.

I even went undefeated a couple times with Trading Post decks in PREs, the most recent was the Vedalken deck in Tribal where Trading Post + Vedalken Shackles = unleashed nightmare.

Erman, you and I totally share favorite cards.
Next, I challenge you to break Primeval Bounty.

I would have definitely by Lord Erman at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 02:09
Lord Erman's picture

I would have definitely written about Primeval Bounty if only Essence of the Wild was also in Standard. Or another idea: Lots of cheap mana creatures, a fast and early Primeval Bounty, Biovisionary, and then Mirrorweave FTW!!!

Sadly it's not in Standard and I want to keep Rogue Play limited to Standard for the time being.

Also I am challenged by someone else recently and currently working on it. If I do come up with something, you may read it in 2 weeks about that challenge.

Spine of Ish Sah by GrandAdmiral at Mon, 02/24/2014 - 22:45
GrandAdmiral's picture
5

I laughed (and smiled) when I saw you were breaking Trading Post. I was playing a version of a Mono White Control deck you wrote about featuring Wellsprings/Spine of Ish Sah/Phyrexia's Core when that card was spoiled. I couldn't buy four copies fast enough! Throw in Wurmcoil Engine and that was the basis for some of my favorite card interactions ever. In fact, my first Commander deck was really just an excuse to keep playing those cards. I thought the Trading Post closed when Scars of Mirrodin rotated, but this deck looks like it has a lot of potential.

As for the format of Rogue Play, I really like it. Take that from someone who has been reading Magic related articles for over a decade. It's fun to see the deckbuilding process - especially the roads not taken. That way you see the reasoning behind the final deck list AND how the list got there. Especially when the final deck is fun and competitive.

I like the current format of by 2of1 at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 04:16
2of1's picture
5

I like the current format of the articles.
And Tradingpost is one of my pet cards to try to abuse. I would suggest a modern deck with the post and artificiers intuition and myr servitor.

Nice article! I want to play by CottonRhetoric at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 11:41
CottonRhetoric's picture

Nice article! I want to play with this card now.

Have you tried it with Rings of Brighthearth?

Thanks all for stopping by by Lord Erman at Tue, 02/25/2014 - 12:18
Lord Erman's picture

Thanks all for stopping by and saying hello. Answers:

1- Deck doesn't have a sideboard because most games in casual room are just single games. I might build a sideboard of course and start matches in the casual room instead of single games. Might be a good idea after all.

2- Paul what can I say, you know me too well.

3- I really tried to build this deck without adding Blue and without adding Supreme Verdict, but it just didn't work. If you play Control and can't sweep the board at turn 4 latest against Aggro, you're simply screwed. That WB mass removal is nice but sadly 6 mana is always too late. So there was no escaping from Supreme Verdict I'm afraid.

4- I didn't try the Ring, I just worked with the Standard card pool. But it's an interesting idea of course.

Thanks again.