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By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
Mar 30 2007 7:56pm
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by Lord Erman

Episode V: "Reap And Sow"

Hello dear readers and welcome to the 5th edition of the Rogue Play series; "Reap And Sow". While ending my previous article, I said that the next article(which happens to be this) will be "Rogues on the Rise" but I'm saving it for another time.

As I also explained in full detail in my previous article, I am what Wizards of the Coast calls a Johnny/Spike. But until now, all of my articles were a little bit Johnny-ish and that made my inner Spike a little bit jealous and more importantly, angry. And the last thing I want is to upset my inner Spike for he is the fuel I need to win.

Let's be realistic for a moment. If we want to win against serious decks, decks that currently hold the MTGO meta within their grasp, we can't be THAT original, can we? Actually we can. Perhaps not with unseen card combinations or weird decks or something like that but certainly with some strong decks, which are approaching the meta from different angles. And this what Rogue Play Series are all about! So instead of sharing with you some "bright ideas" of mine, I will in this article talk about some of the well-known but nowadays less frequently played deck-tpyes.

Before I show you what I mean, let's talk about the current meta for a while. After all, if we want to go out and shake the whole Magic community, we first must know what kinds of beasts are lurking in the shadows.



For those who are not familiar with this term; it is a definition used to describe the deck types which are commonly and widely played among players.


Savannah Lions



is it aggro?

is it control?

or is it combo?

If you have a group of friends and most of them are playing fast creature based decks, then this means that your meta-game is aggro. I wish this would have been the same for all of us though. But it is unfortunately not.

We are living in an environment of control decks. We are surrounded by them. And actually it is worse; the meta game is shifting towards to "mono-blue-counter-all" type of decks. Oh boy, I can only imagine what those Timmies among you think! "The end of the world" you say I know.

Although the situation is not that dark, we cannot say that it is too bright either. If we want to win in the current meta, we have to penetrate their defenses in different ways. Ways that they do not expect. Ways that they are unaware of or perhaps ways that they are not taking serious. What could they be?

So to summarize, we can easily say that the current MTGO meta is full of control decks. Decks like Mono Green Aggro or Boros Deck Wins still do well but they are now (unfortunately) the minority. The moment we go out to play with the big boys, we must be prepared to face all kinds of boring control decks packed with countless counterspells, mass removal and sometimes even more nasty stuff.

this is their motto 


One Spell To Rule Them All!


The Ruling Spell



While my inner Johnny, who is a being living in calm and peace, prefers the term "opponents" rather than "enemies", unfortunately this article is all about my inner Spike and he is all but bloodthirsty! He wants to go out and crush them!

Man... I feel so Gruul today...

So what are they?

Let's name them: Dralnu du Louvre, Angelfire and different variants of it, Dragonstorm, all kinds of Tron decks(they are quite popular these days), all kinds of Soggy Pickles variants and some Blink decks.

The Three Musketeers







What do they have in common?

Other than Dragonstorm, which is a combo deck, all of them are packed with counterspells, if not counterspells then some other cards to lock the game and mass removal spells. They will sit there, do nothing, wait for us to act so they can react and when they feel it is safe, they will strike.


Nobody said it would be easy...


Now we know what we are against at. And now we must find a way to victory(of course other than being one of them and playing one of the above decks).


Normally it breaks the heart of my inner Johnny to see me play Land Destruction(LD). He always believes in a fair game. But the little nasty Spikey inside somewhere, doesn't even care if it's fair or not.

"Fair? At what point in our negotiations did you convince yourself my goal was to be fair?"

Vedalken Plotter's flavor text

As most of you remember, when we had the CHK block in standard, one of the hottest decks was that Vore deck. It was a LD deck but that "D" was meaning "Denial" more than "Destruction". It's aim was a turn two Stone Rain; in that case that was an Eye of Nowhere.

Things have changed since then and that deck lost popularity and vanished from the serious gaming scene. But now, I think that it is the perfect time for that once mighty Magnivore's comeback. But this time, he will bring his brother with him; the Detritivore!




People are already talking about the new Vore, and already started playing him in some Angelfire variants. But considering the current meta which is full of Urza lands and/or Ravnica dual lands, playing a LD deck with Detritivore, makes perfect sense! Well, at least to me...

This is how we like our opponent's mana base. DEAD!

I searched the Net and found some interesting decklists. But oddly, none of them had any Detritivores. Eye of Nowhere seems to be replaced with an instant card, Boomerang, which lowers the sorcery count of the deck but there were some nice additions too. After analysing many of such decks, I build my own version. Here it is.

And once again for those who likes decklists the classic way.

VORE-2007 A Standard Deck by Lord Erman

23 Lands

6x Island
5x Mountain
4x Izzet Boilerworks
4x Shivan Reef
4x Steam Vents

4 Creatures

1x Detritivore
3x Magnivore


33 Other Spells

4x Boomerang
4x Mana Leak
4x Remand
4x Ancestral Vision
4x Compulsive Research
2x Cryoclasm
4x Sleight of Hand
4x Stone Rain
3x Wildfire

15 Card Sideboard

2x Detritivore
1x Magnivore
4x Annex
4x Repeal
4x Volcanic Hammer

Some cards in deck might be different from the classic build but the game strategy of the deck has not changed at all. The deck still aims for a second turn Boomerang and a third turn Stone Rain. If you got it, you will most probably win. Even if you can't, no worries! With 8 counterspells, the deck also offers some protection until Wildfire burns the table.

My version has only 1 Detritivore in the main deck. It is because I think that while it is a perfect card for this deck, it is actually a little bit expensive. You'd definately like it suspended; because only that way you can see the true power of this card. While suspended, it is an uncounterable Stone Rain on its own. But to suspend it with at least 1 counter on it, it requires 5 mana which is sometimes a problem. Therefore I start more or less like the original version. Then, if I'm playing against a 'Tron deck, after sideboarding, 1x Detritivore and 3x Magnivore turns into 3x Detritivore and 1x Magnivore.

My first build had 2x Annex in the main deck but I just couldn't resist the beauty of Cryoclasm. And I'm still thinking of adding 2 more Cryoclasms to the deck but don't know what to cut. So if you have an idea, please share it with me.

While nothing about the deck is original, I still think that this deck is true to the heart and soul of Rogue Play. In an environment full of control decks or aggro decks, LD is something different. It totally wreaks havoc upon 'Tron decks which depend on their Urza lands so badly. Any aggro deck might be a problem but nothing we can't overcome.

Now that we destroyed all lands, let us flourish them again. Well, perhaps not all of them. But particularly one.


When I say Dredge, I actually say this.

Svogthos, the Restless Tomb

Hitting your opponent with a 15/15 land is not something to be laughed at. It cannot be countered. It is Wrath of God-proof. No "destroy target creature" sorceries. The anti-cards list is so thin. Which eventually, makes this card even better.

And if it is Svogthos, the Restless Tomb, then it is the good old Dredge/Reanimator deck. And here are the known ingredients of the Golgari Milkshake.

Pour them into one big bottle and mix them well

Life from the Loam

Stinkweed Imp

Golgari Grave-Troll

As always, before building my own version, I checked the Net. And found plenty of information about this deck-type. After analysing them, I build my own Dredge deck.

DARK SEED, A Standard Deck by Lord Erman

21 Lands

5x Forest
3x Swamp
1x Ghost Quarter
3x Golgari Rot Farm
4x Overgrown Tomb
1x Saltcrusted Steppe
3x Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

22 Creatures

4x Birds of Paradise
3x Greenseeker
3x Elves of Deep Shadow
3x Angel of Despair
4x Golgari Grave-Troll
1x Helldozer
4x Stinkweed Imp

17 Other Spells

2x Darkblast
3x Putrefy
4x Delirium Skeins
3x Dread Return
3x Life from the Loam
2x Nightmare Void

15 Cards Sideboard

3x Krosan Grip
4x Shadow of Doubt
2x Darkblast
3x Ghost Quarter
3x Tormod's Crypt

This is me, coming to hit you with my land!


For those who wonder: the name Dark Seed comes from the Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth's flavor text. Yawgmoth is here the seed that causes lands like Svogthos, the Restless Tomb to exist. Well, so much for my imagination...

I was toying with this idea for a long time and I had many versions before the above shown one and thus I had the chance to playtest it more than I did the Vore deck. I played 4 games against that Dralnu du Louvre and won them all. Also played against all kinds of 'Tron decks and lost none. Not joking.

Svogthos, the Restless Tomb was my biggest weapon against those Dralnu du Louvre players and Ghost Quarter totally wreaks the 'Tron decks apart.


Dralnu, Lich Lord

Even though this is not the "ultimate standard deck" available, it is surely very good againts the meta game contenders. But let me warn you; Angelfire was a big, Big, BIG problem.

All-in-all, this is a deck idea which exist almost since 2 years but I think that it is the perfect time to play it. It also perfectly fits into the "approaching the meta from a different angle" definition I used at the beginning of my article.


Reap and Sow


You like it or not; the current meta is full of control decks. Yes there are also some aggro decks out there and I'm not ignoring them but at the end of the day, if not one Dragonstorm deck, then it is one other pesky 'Tron deck or Dralnu du Louvre who is the winner.

But we hit'em from their weak point; their mana base. Most players don't understand LD at all. They blame Wizards for creating such cards. But there is one thing that they don't understand; LD is for Spike. For serious gamers. Players who play to win first and then if possible, to have fun(not a must by the way). Wizards create such cards with the same idea in mind when they create counterspell cards. You don't have to like and play all the cards they print; if you don't like playing competitive games, then you might as well ignore LD. But if people are countering all your spells one after another non-stop, if they are casting Wrath of God every time you have some threatening creature(s) on table, then you have to play dirty as well or you simply... lose! And if winning is all that matters, then LD is a good option among some others.

With the second deck we hit'em again and this time hit'em hard from their weak point; we attacked them with something that they cannot prevent(most of the time that is). And in the meantime, we destroyed their fragile mana base as well with our (after sideboard) 4 copies of Ghost Quarters which we used over and over again thanks to Life from the Loam.

As I said above, we had to penetrate their defenses in different ways and we found two ways in; their mana base and something they cannot counter or kill easily.


I'm not of course saying that my versions are the best. There are pure Spikes out there who build competitive decks much better than me for sure. So please don't say things like "my build is better" or "that dude's deck who won that other tourney will eat yours alive". The decks are not the main point here. The idea behind them is that what matters to me.

I'm not saying "go and win eveything" with my versions. But I'm surely saying one thing: If you plan to play serious games and if you want to play rogue, then as I said, you have to approach the meta from different angles. You have to find their weaknesses. I'm saying that I have found them. If you already knew these things, I'm happy for you! But I know that there are some players out there who wants to play competitive but just don't know what to play. I can only hope that this article will help them when they choose their deck.

Okay dear readers, that'll be all for this edition of Rogue Play. Join me next week when I set the casual room on fire with my MoreJohnnyLessSpike rogue decks. My inner Spike had so much fun this week, so it is time to satisfy the innocent sweet Johnny in me.

Until then, take care
Nafiz ERMAN, a.k.a. Lord Erman

One Final Note: When you're online, come and join us at /join pureMTGO. It is so much fun in there and I don't think that you'd want to miss that. And in the very near future, we will start organizing our own tournaments and you'd really don't want to miss that too.


Great layout by vjcsmoke (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/03/2007 - 13:04
vjcsmoke (Unregistered)'s picture

The use of graphics and text to present your aticle is great. It really helps to bring your point across. Now I've known of these decktypes for a while now, so it's not really "new" to me but seeing the decklists and different card choices might give me the urge to dig up my old dredge deck and refresh it. :) I like the tech of ghost quarters with loam by the way. That is quite an excellent way to take out tron or the new cloudpost/vesuva tech that is commonly seen in extended.

Nice by Mikail52 at Mon, 04/02/2007 - 09:01
Mikail52's picture

Great article.

Friggin' Awesome by thescale99 at Sun, 04/01/2007 - 07:57
thescale99's picture

One loud and mighty 'Ha-Zaa!' for Lord Erman!!! This article could appear in ANY online or printed source for MTG news. Layout, flow, connection of ideas, tone, relevance to the reader, accessibility...need I continue? Any employee interviewing with me for a position which would require articulate prose could submit this EXACT article as proof of writing mastery, regardless of the position applied for. Don’t take this compliment lightly – I work with some very sharp people (earning six figures and who have graduate degrees) who can’t do work with anywhere near this level of professionalism. With more presentations like this, Lord Erman WILL BE my number one MTGO read. Great Stuff!!!

WoW by mtgotraders at Fri, 03/30/2007 - 19:57
mtgotraders's picture

One of the best articles on the site and very fun to read and I really love how you use the pictures, etc to keep it fun and interesting.

by jinx_talaris at Fri, 03/30/2007 - 21:32
jinx_talaris's picture

Good stuff Erman. I love the layout (something I need to work on) and the recurring article "Rogue Play" theme. Keep up the good work!

Thanks by Lord Erman at Sat, 03/31/2007 - 09:17
Lord Erman's picture

Thanks for your comments. Having an university degree of literature&art really helps me when I write. Although English is not my native tongue, writing in any language is more or less based on the same rules like how and when to use a comma or quotation marks or more generally, long paragraphs are boring for the reader or telling is good but if possible showing is better etc... Also I don't like scrolling left or right when reading an article and I care a lot about it when I write. Whether the stuff I write about is entertaining or not, is up to the reader of course.