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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Dec 15 2015 1:00pm
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 Sindbad is sindbad alright. But what if he was sindgood? I present to you...

Deck 1 Sindgood


There are two basic ways to abuse Sindbad.

  1. Manipulate what's on top. Use Sensei's Divining Top- and Brainstorm-type effects. Usually this means putting a land on top, but it could also mean putting Circular Logic on top. Or Temporal Mastery! (Read Sindbad carefully: he says "draw" and "discard.")
  2. Don't care what's on top. Just use him to trigger other cards in play, like Pursuit of Knowledge and Lorescale Coatl.

You could go all-in on either strategy, or you could do what my deck does and have a little of both! I'm about that versatility.

No matter how you use Sindbad, unless you're deliberately stacking your deck NOT to have lands on top, you will end up with a lot of lands in your hand. This brings us to another fork in the road: should we keep them in our hand or put them on the battlefield?

Much like the last fork, either one could work fine. But today I'll be going with Option B, because Chasm Skulker is better than Tidewalker. (I do mourn the loss of Floodgate as an option, and I encourage you all to try it in my stead.)

Chasm Skulker  Tidewalker  Floodgate

If you want redundancy with Sindbad, Explorer's Scope is certainly an option. It didn't make the cut in my own deck, not being a great fit, but don't forget it exists is all I'm saying.

    Survivor of the Unseen

So what other tricks has my deck got going on? The primary one ended up being Coldsnap oddball Survivor of the Unseen. It:

  • Increases your hand quality in general, no matter what else happens.
  • Increases your handsize, for those wisdom cards like Sturmgeist.
  • Puts two +1/+1 counters on Chasm Skulker—per turn.
  • Puts a land on top of your library, for Sindbad (or Treasure Hunt to take.
  • Gets rid of unwanted situational cards (like (Steal Enchantment against an enchantment-less deck).
  • Chump blocks, or trades with a small guy, since it was about to die to its upkeep anyway.

Wow!!! In a typical game you will activate it two or three times before it dies. (Don't forget you can activate it with its upkeep on the stack, whether you pay for it that turn or not.) Your opponent won't usually "waste" removal on it since it's moribund anyway, having no idea how central it is to our plans. Telling Time performs similar roles, if less thoroughly. Unfortunately, neither it nor Treasure Hunt trigger the Chasm Skulker, but they're still good. As is he. Truly.

I'm running 25 lands, a little high for the sake of Sindbad and Treasure Hunt. Lonely Sandbar is a neat trick, getting grabbed by either of those, and replacing itself if it's not needed. And Moonring Island gives you a tip of what your Sindbad activation will do. We often are happy to activate him blind, but every now and then we want to actually draw that card that was on top! Oh plus it counts towards Spire Golem's affinity.

Lonely Sandbar  Moonring Island  Spire Golem

The list, which if you hadn't figure out by now is casual and customizable:

And that's only scratching the surface of Sindbad! But my other decks are entirely unrelated.


Deck 2 Training Grounds

Training Grounds

Hey, speaking of scratching the surface, I ran an entire 3-deck article about Training Grounds three years ago... and it only scratched the surface! Here's a brand new Training Grounds deck that has barely anything in common with those.

One thing I want to point out about Training Grounds: most people (including the me of 2012) have this compulsion to only use it for its maximum value. They want to make it turn 2C into C, or 3C to 1C, but nothing less efficient than that! If it's changing 1C to C, they don't want to consider it, counting their resources squandered. But hold on—there are a lot of great cards with that 1C activation cost that still appreciate the savings! Remember, this still cuts the mana in half, allowing you to double the number of activations each turn, which is a good deal whether it's maximum efficiency or not.

So let's expand our search to include some 1C activation costs.

Lord of Shatterskull Pass  Kumano, Master Yamabushi  Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Auriok Salvagers  Kazandu Tuskcaller  Ant Queen

Tough! I would activate those cards all day long. And let's also look for some cards that weren't around in 2012 (or that were but I didn't think of):

Magus of the Scroll  Scalding Devil  Inner-Flame Igniter

Heroes' Bane  Hundred-Handed One  (pic= Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage)

Yeahhhh.  This article is already kicking that one's booty.

I went with a red deck, splashing blue only for the Grounds itself, some filtering, and a few random tricks. (You know how I like those tricks.)

  • Magefire Wings accomplishes quite a lot on your large but (face it) vanilla Ashling the Pilgrim. Same goes for Lord of Shatterskull Pass and even Kumano, Master Yamabushi.
  • Swerve is to cool to resist a singleton of. (Back in 1995, we used to pay twice that amount for the same effect!)
  • Izzet Guildmage is just about the only carryover from my previous article. And he's not even too important here, copying only Impulse and Magma Jet. Still, those ARE good to copy. And few creatures draw removal the way he does. Your opponent assumes you're about to go infinite with him and win the next turn. And that's not a stupid instinct of them to have, because that is mostly how people use the guy, but still! In this deck, we would much rather lose him than another creature (in most board states).
  • Merfolk Looter is great in here. We always want a Training Grounds, but we (almost) never want more than one. He makes both of those happen!
  • Illusionist's Bracers can do some cool things, but has such a heavy setup that I only run one.

Here 'tis:



Deck 3 Remembrance


"Remember" this card? Ironically, probably not.

Remembrance raises a few questions. What creatures can easily die? What creatures do I want to repeatedly cast? What creatures set up recur combos? (Some of) the answers are:

The weakness of Remembrance is that it's slow, unreliable, and mana-intensive—but the strength is that we're not playing competitively.

So let's pick a direction! All five colors have got something for it, but I ended up going with WRG. (White because I have to, Green because it has the best recursion options, and red to fill in some deckbuilding gaps my WG version had.)

Commune with the Gods    

In a deck that has to get Remembrance and has to get specific creatures, we will not find a better tutor than Commune with the Gods. Run four of those.

Spark Trooper is worse than Ball Lightning in a straight burn deck, but much better in this sort of midrange grindy deck. I will gladly cast 3 or 4 of those in a row under any board state (not involving first strikers or Ensnaring Bridge).

The utility spells should be in the form of creatures, so replace Smash with Keldon Vandals, Aura Blast with Wispmare, Magma Jet with Fire Imp, Go for the Throat with Spitebellows, and Boros Signet with Skyshroud Elf.

The rest of the deck is just sifting, since this is so draw reliant. Not to mention, you sometimes don't want a second copy of that creature who just died. So I'm running Tormenting Voice and (even though it's card disadvantage) Winds of Change. Here's the list!



See you next week!