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By: Lord Erman, Nafiz Erman
May 04 2007 8:27am
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by Nafiz Erman

Episode IX: "There is No I in a Team"

Welcome dear readers to the 9th edition of Rogue Play; "There is No I in a Team".  Until now, I shared many different decks and deck ideas of mine with you. This time, I'll share some more decks with you; but this time none of them are originally my ideas. The inspiration for all comes from my teammates, my clan buddies. Of course I will not copy/paste their decks here but rather I will approach their ideas in the Rogue Play way.

I sense that this will be a long article, therefore without losing more time, I'll cut to the chase.


Nick Matthews a.k.a. Dragonmage65, was here long before I came. When I was only an innocent(!) customer of MTGO TRADERS, I was reading his Think Tank articles with great enthusiasm(I still do of course). Almost 1 month ago, we had another fine edition of his Think Tank series here on PureMTGO. I would happily give you the link to that article here but because of some reasons I do not know, that article is not available anymore.

His article had several deck lists but one of them was particularly interesting. He had a Black/Red Extended deck where he used Volcano Hellion in conjunction with a reject card from Champions of Kamigawa set Ragged Veins. I also remember that I played against his Hellion deck and although it was a fun deck, it just wasen't my type of a deck. And not to mention that back then Volcano Hellion was also not my type of a card.

When I saw Volcano Hellion for the first time, I immediately thought of Stuffy Doll. Any form of Stuffy Doll decks are fun to play but it is unfortunately not possible to go anywhere with such a deck other than the casual room. Yes it was and still is true that the moment you have Pariah's Shield on Stuffy Doll you are almost invincible but let's be realistic for a moment; do you really think that it is possible in a serious game of Magic? I highly doubt it.

Therefore since the release of Time Spiral, Stuffy Doll was never ever a card I took seriously as well as Volcano Hellion.  But as I said, that article of Dragonmage65, blown a few light bulbs in my head. What more interesting was, that someone had a comment saying that he won a 8-man constructed event with a Red/White Hellion deck. Now that was interesting indeed! Since then I had the idea of giving this deck a try and recently I had the chance to do it. And the results were totaly astonishing.

When I build a deck, I always test it first against the top5 netdecks. These days they are 1 Dragonstorm deck, 1 IzzetTron deck, 1 Dralnu du Louvre deck, 1 Gruul Aggro deck and 1 Angelfire deck. The deck I work on, first must pass this test. Eventually after my 4th or 5th try, the deck managed to won against these decks. And that was a very big surprise for me. After that test, I took it to the real test; to the tourney room. And there, even more surprisingly, I managed to win!

Here is the decklist.

DEMONIO, A Standard Deck, by Nafiz Erman

23 Lands

4x Mountain
3x Plains
4x Terramorphic Expanse
4x Sacred Foundry
4x Battlefield Forge
4x Flagstones of Trokair

10 Creatures

2x Fortune Thief
4x Stuffy Doll
4x Volcano Hellion

4 Artifact

4x Boros Signet

23 Other Spells

4x Faith's Fetters
4x Lightning Helix
3x Sulfurous Blast
4x Shivan Meteor
4x Wheel of Fate
4x Wrath of God 

15 Card Sideboard

4x Defense Grid
3x Tormod's Crypt
3x Detritivore
3x Circle of Protection: Red
2x Disenchant 

The deck is actually very straightforward but then again it is also very versatile. The perfect game for this deck is to have Stuffy Doll on table while your life total is higher than your opponent and then to play a Volcano Hellion to deal tons of damage to Stuffy Doll and thus killing your opponent. But of course life is never that easy.

Many different type of decks cause many different types of problems. Aggro is as usual very fast and there were games when I managed to stop my opponent via a Wrath of God at 5 or 4 life. In a situation like this, Stuffy Doll + Volcano Hellion combo is just useless. So against Aggro I almost always forgot about Stuffy Doll and played Volcano Hellion as a normal creature. When I played it, my life total was always very low and thus I could pay its echo cost and then attacked with it.

Against Control, the main problem is to play Stuffy Doll in the first place. I don't recall a game against Control which I won 2-0. I normally always lost the first game. But after sideboarding things change. Defense Grid shuts down those pesky counterspells and Detritivore replacing the Sulfurous Blasts, wreaks havoc upon their mana base. Then a Shivan Meteor targeting the Stuffy Doll or a 5/5 or 6/6 Detritivore does the job. And not to mention that Angelfire or other red based decks are (almost) totally helpless against Circle of Protection: Red.

If you have the cards for this deck, I strongly advise you to give it a try. As you can see, the deck has an answer to everything and this makes it a good deck in my opinion. And if you think that you will face a lot of LD decks, just replace the Tormod's Crypts in the sideboard with Sacred Ground.


The inspiration for the next deck comes from yet another clanbuddy, this time Todd Holmes a.k.a. thescale99. Lately while we were chatting about Magic, he said that the enchantments in Magic are the hardest cards to remove for your opponent. Then the conversation headed towards a deck idea which is winning with enchantments.

I still remember my Enduring Ideal deck fondly but times have changed. I checked each and every enchantment we have in standard and finally came across something I have long forgotten.

My Enduring Ideal deck had one copy of Form of the Dragon in it  but I never ever considered this card to be the main attraction. And I had my doubts about it. A 7 mana cost red enchantment will win me the game? I highly doubted.

But in my conversation with thescale99, I told him that I will come up with something and something good and I really didn't want to say after a while "Uhm... I just couldn't".Therefore the deck you'll see below was the hardest to build among all these decks I'm presenting you in this article.

First of all I had to have removal in deck. Spot and mass removal. So it was white or black to be the second colour. I chose white. And this choice allowed me to access cards like Wrath of God, Lightning HelixPorphyry Nodes and a surprising card; Restore Balance

Restore Balance could have been a superb card if not only for its suspend cost of 6. And then I started thinking about it. How can I lower this 6? Jhoira's Timebug? Too fragile. And besides, I hate bugs. Timecrafting? Good. But isn't there a better one? Well, there is. Fury Charm of course. Removes 2 time counters, destroys an artifact or a +1/+1 and trample for a creature. Good indeed!

Form of the Dragon

But a few experimental games showed that the Red/White version wasen't quite enough to be considered as a good rogue deck. The deck wasen't drawing enough cards and Wheel of Fate alone was just not enough.

And thus I added blue to the deck.  As I had Fury Charm in deck, Ancestral Vision was an obvious choice. After a few changes, I ended up with the following deck.

Form of the Dragon, A Standard Deck, by Nafiz Erman

24 Lands

1x Mountain
2x Plains
1x Adarkar Wastes
1x Azorius Chancery
3x Battlefield Forge
2x Boros Garrison
4x Hallowed Fountain
1x Izzet Boilerworks
4x Sacred Foundry
1x Shivan Reef
4x Steam Vents

1 Creature

1x Akroma, Angel of Fury

35 Other Spells

3x Form of the Dragon
4x Porphyry Nodes
4x Electrolyze
4x Fury Charm
4x Lightning Helix
4x Think Twice
4x Ancestral Vision
4x Restore Balance
4x Wrath of God 

15 Cards Sideboard

4x Defense Grid
3x Tormod's Crypt
3x Circle of Protection: Red
2x Disenchant
2x Repeal
1x Akroma, Angel of Fury 

The game plan of this deck is very much the same as the above deck. After all, it is a typical control deck. The deck's main target as you can also see, is the creature based decks. And this has a reason. Control decks tend to be slow. And this deck has a lot of options in the long run. But decks like Boros Decks Wins, Gruul Aggro or Mono Green Aggro are very fast decks and we have to protect ourselves against them.

But let me tell you that this deck demonstrates its true power against control decks and mainly after sideboarding. Defense Grid is a superb card against such decks and it allows you to freely play your spells. There is no bigger joy than to watch a Dralnu player to decide which cards he will discard to a resolved Restore Balance.

Also red decks love that their opponent has a Form of the Dragon on table because it automatically brings their opponent's life total to 5. And this is where Circle of Protection: Red comes in. Your life total may be at 5 but no burn spells can get through. Fun!

Also this deck is almost an auto-win against some certain type of decks like mono-black decks and/or mono-red decks which have no answer to Form of the Dragon. But be careful when playing against a mono-green deck, especially after sideboarding; a split second Krosan Grip targeting your Form of the Dragon is no fun.


Actually  the following deck has nothing to do with my teammates. But in a way I can associate it to the above deck which is "win by enchantments", and therefore to thescale99.

I was testing my Form of the Dragon deck. I met someone. And he managed something, which I never thought to be possible. He drove me crazy. Really. Not just crazy. I was so furious after the game, if I write the things I said to him here, I would be banned forever from this site. There was a moment when I really lost control. I'm not joking.

I'm mature enough to understand that this is a game. Magic is a game. No matter how serious we take it sometimes, it is a game after all. Like backgammon. Even like chess. I know that and I can understand that. Even in the most desperate and hopeless situation I can keep myself calm. But that guy, he really managed something impossible; made me lose control. 

I know what you're asking; "What did he do?". Here it is.


Dream Leash

Copy Enchantment

He stole everyting. EVERYTHING. It was so frustrating. He Dream Leashed my tapped land. Then he Annexed my untapped land! Then he copied them and stole my other lands! After a while I managed to get to 4 lands. What did he do? Cast a Wildfire! And while I was losing all my lands, he sacrificed the lands he stole from me!

I'm someone who tries to read each and every article written by respected players/writers. I read tournament reports. I have knowledge of each and every netdeck. After all, I play against them everyday! But I never saw something like this. It was a Red/White/Blue deck with red just as a splash for Wildfire and it was horrible. 

After I calmed down after sometime, I started thinking about the idea. That was something I never saw. There were 2 options. Either he was a genius or I was missing something. Anyway, I started toying about this "stealing" idea. I was so frustrated during my game with him, I was barely remembering what he played. So I had to build it from the beginning all by myself.

And here is what I came up with.



Thieving Angel, A STD Deck, by Nafiz Erman

23 Lands

3x Island
3x Plains
4x Adarkar Wastes
3x Azorius Chancery
4x Hallowed Fountain
1x Izzet Boilerworks
1x Shivan Reef
4x Steam Vents

6 Creatures

4x Court Hussar
2x Akroma, Angel of Wrath

5 Artifact

2x Azorius Signet
3x Izzet Signet

26 Other Spells

4x Copy Enchantment
4x Annex
4x Dream Leash
4x Remand
4x Compulsive Research
2x Wildfire
4x Wrath of God 

15 Cards Sideboard

2x Akroma, Angel of Fury
4x Defense Grid
3x Tormod's Crypt
2x Disenchant
4x Shadow of Doubt 

Now this is how I played with this deck.

I advertised the game as "std - annoying deck". Then someone joined. I asked "did you read what I wrote". He didn't seem to care. My last words: "don't say I didn't warn you". Then the game bagan and it ended. I pm-ed him for saying "gg". He already blocked me. This was the case in many of my games with this deck. Ah well, I warned them all and they didn't care.

After playing almost 2 dozens games with this deck, I can clearly say that if today I am to enter a tournament, this will be my deck. I liked it that much. Yes it isn't a deck which will gain you friends but in tournaments we're not seeking for new friends are we?

During playtesting I played almost against all forms of decks. The deck performed very well against each and every one of them. My biggest fear was Aggro decks but no; the deck almost every time guarantees a 4th turn Wrath of God.

'Tron decks were sooooo much fun to play against. They are trying to assemble their precious Urza lands and sometime during game you leave them landless while you have all 3 Urza lands in front of you! So funny!

Against counterspell decks, the deck has a lot of nasty surprises as well. During sideboarding I take 4x Remand out and put 4x Defense Grid in and switch my Akromas. The red Akroma is really leaving blue mages with no options. And against Aggro decks, I make no changes in the deck and continue with the main deck.

This deck actually begs me to play Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. But I don't know what to cut. Akroma, Angel of Wrath? No way! I just can't find a card to cut. So if you can think of something, please please please let me know.


The idea for the last deck, belongs to Nicholas Anson; a.k.a. jinx_talaris. Recently he started a series of articles called Black Magic and in its second installment which you can read here, he discussed a mono-black deck build around an undervalued rare card of Planar Chaos; Roiling Horror. After reading the article I talked with him about his idea and after that conversation we both agreed that a White/Black/Red version of that deck would be much better.

His last article about his deck can be found here, and it is a very good one. After reading his article about the deck, I see no reason for me to talk about it too much as he explains everything in his article about it.

Nevertheless I will give my version of it so you can compare these two versions of Roiling Horror decks and play whichever suit you.

ROILING ANGELS, A STD Deck, by Nafiz Erman

23 Lands

1x Mountain
3x Plains
2x Swamp
3x Blood Crypt
1x Boros Garrison
1x Caves of Koilos
4x Godless Shrine
1x Orzhov Basilica
1x Rakdos Carnarium
4x Sacred Foundry
2x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 

6 Creatures

4x Firemane Angel
2x Roiling Horror

7x Artifacts

3x Boros Signet
3x Orzhov Signet
1x Rakdos Signet

24 Other Spells

3x Phyrexian Arena
4x Faith's Fetters
3x Hide/Seek
4x Lightning Helix
3x Mortify
1x Consume Spirit
3x Damnation
3x Wrath of God 

15 Cards Sideboard

3x Tormod's Crypt
3x Circle of Protection: Red
3x Sacred Ground
3x Disenchant
1x Damnation
2x Persecute

Firemane Angel

As I said, I will not talk about the deck and how it works because the latest installment of Black Magic does it perfectly. But I will tell you this much; I like this deck very much and playtesting proved that it is a deck to be taken seriously. It has all the best cards of those 3 colours and Firemane Angel lost nothing of its potency and it is still a very good win condition.

Okay dear readers. I showed you 4 different decks inspired by my teammates. They all are rogue decks and they all are true to the heart and soul of Rogue Play. But before I say goodbye there are also a couple of other things I want to talk about.

"I have seen the future. It does not include you."

Aven Augur's flavor text

The release of the newest set of Magic called Future Sight is in sight now. Now that we have the spoiler list of it, we know what's inside it. There are many interesting cards in the set and I'm keen to see what impact it will have on the most commonly played format; Standard.

But as far as I can foresee, I strongly believe that my mono-black deck will become a deck to be taken seriously thanks to the guy you see on the left. There are some other very strong black cards in the set such as Bitter Ordeal, Bridge From Below, Gibbering Descent, Nihilith, my favorite Shimian Specter, a perfect Madness triggerer Skirk Ridge Exhumer, Slaughter Pact, Tombstalker and Yixlid Jailer. Black will be definately the colour to watch out.

I always thought that after Ravnica block's lands, lands in Time Spiral block were a little bit... uhm... let's say less satisfying. How could I know that WOTC was saving the best for the last? There are really very good lands in Future Sight which I'm sure will be highly sought after.

And a little bit of criticism. As MaRo discussed here, I see no point in printing cards in a set which have absolutely no impact on the current status of Magic. We don't know how to assemble contraptions and what they are in the first place and yet no one is willing to explain that to us. And I think that if I pay money and open a booster of Magic with great joy, I should be able to get something I can at least understand. Right now Steamflogger Boss means nothing to me and I don't like this idea. Anyway, I'm sure WOTC knows what they're doing.

Nevertheless Future Sight is a good set and I can't wait to see those cards in action.


And finally a few words about the Custom Card Contest (CCC) we are having in our forums. If you think you have nice and original card ideas, our contest is the place for you to show everyone how creative you are. The link is here and not only it is fun to participate, but there will also be prizes for the first 3 places. If you want to learn how to create custom cards, click here.

Okay dear readers, this is all for this edition of Rogue Play. When the Angel of Inspiration stops talking to you, you might try talking to your friends. You'll be amazed to see that they are as good as she is.

Thanks for reading.

Take Care
Nafiz ERMAN, a.k.a. Lord Erman


by gnawph (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 05/05/2007 - 10:57
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Oops, should of been clearer. I meant expensive in terms of mana cost.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 18:56
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I was actually playing a deck like this a while ago online in 8-man events. I saw bloodsmurf playing it online. The main difference was it used 3dreams(great card) to tutor for enchantments and you had kami of the fields and 2confiscates. having 4copy enchantments seems to risky i'd play 2-3 maindeck

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 21:18
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How can you claim to know every netdeck and not be familiar with annex-wildfire?

Not really rougue anymore. by gnawph (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 05/05/2007 - 01:51
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Erman, your articles are becoming boring.

Most of your "rouge" decks are just packing slow and expensive win conditions and filled with board clearing spells. Its not really original and barely rougue.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 05/05/2007 - 02:52
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Don't listen to the haters they only want to net deck their way to the top. They just don't love the game enough to try new and different cards.

by Lord Erman at Sat, 05/05/2007 - 04:57
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Thanks for all the suggestions and critiques. You should know that I take each one of them into consideration. About the expensive part gnawph, I never claimed that I will be building budget decks that can win against tier1 decks. The slow part, yes it is true but then again as I said many times, I'm not an aggro player but rather control player as you can see in each article and each deck. Just wanted to make this part clear. Thanks again everybody.

by Diskonto (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 15:12
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I really like these decks I'll definitely try the stuffy doll deck out. The black white red deck is a solid deck. There are a few people at my FNM that play the deck and are always in the top 8. I'd play it but I don't like mirror matches.

The copy enchantment deck is always good and catches people by surprise. I've walked into that deck my self only to be defeated by my own creature. If you really wanted Grand Arbiter Augustin IV in there, I think you would have to take out the wildfires as they lack synergy together. I guess what ever card you wanted to play would be a meta game choice.

The enchantment deck is cool. I've never experienced a deck like it. I'll have to try it out sometime.

by thescale99 at Fri, 05/04/2007 - 12:52
thescale99's picture

Another great edition of Rouge Play. Nice to see that the PureMTGO community is starting to utilize each others best ideas and explore all the dynamics of 'getting better', be it casual, competition or otherwise! Regarding the state of deckbuilding (especially in competition), Outlaw mentioned a few days ago that “I'm suggesting that people are on auto-pilot. Load win.dec, click a few times and gg's all around.” I hope Lord Ermans spirit of deck building will help to change that!