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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Jan 28 2016 12:00pm
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I feel the need... the need for three casual decks.

 

Deck 1 Lots of Sorceries

Recoup

This deck started with a premise: what kind of deck would benefit from both 4 Recoup and 4 Burning Wish?

We would need lots of sorceries (well duh), but they'd also have to be lots of cheap sorceries. (Contrast this with Mizzix's Mastery, which prefers expensive sorceries). We'd also want a variety of 2-ofs and such (contrasting with Spellweaver Helix, which wants 4-ofs). Maybe one day I'll make those decks too, but one thing at a time!

    Scent of Cinder

We're already in red, and red's sorceries are mostly cheap burn spells, so where does that take us? Going the fast, aggro burn route is a bad idea, since those decks don't want to start playing tricks with Recoup and Burning Wish. They'd rather just use those 8 slots for more burn. What about a midrange burn deck though? Use some cheap spells in the early game to keep the board clear. For creatures too large to burn out, we can splash black for removal. When we have more mana, Burning Wish can deal with more complex threats, and Recoups can gain some card advantage. Then we can drop some larger threats of our own.

One step at a time, what are our best options for each of those? Keeping in mind we can't look at instants:

Markov Blademaster  Qal_Sisma_Behemoth.jpg   Cyclops Gladiator  Ember Swallower

With our vast quantity of burn, we are usually attacking against an empty field, meaning it's easy to slip the Blademaster through.

Qal Sisma Behemoth seems like a bad deal at first, but compare him to creatures like Viashino Sandstalker or Archwing Dragon. He can't attack on that first turn, but he's cheaper to attack with after that. And he even has the option of blocking if we need him to. The main reason I considered him is that, with most of the deck being reactive spells costing 1 or 2 mana, we usually have extra mana to spare, so we can pump it into our creatures. Often what happens the turn after you cast him is you have 4 mana, you use two to burn out your opponent's only creature, and then you use the other 2 to swing with your 5/5. It's not bad.

It's also not GOOD, but this is the casual room, remember? If we wanted to be GOOD we'd just run 4 Magnivores and swing for a hasty 8 every turn, but honestly, my conscience won't allow it. I'd rather run the doofy 4-drops listed above.

Vandalblast    

Our deck has to do a little more than burn things and attack, so what can else should we consider?

Artifact destruction: at sorcery speed, Vandalblast may be our best option. Filtering: Tormenting Voice is my favorite by far. Sometimes we'll want to drop a Flame Slash against a creatureless deck. Sometimes the Scent of Cinder will be the only other red card in our hand, so it's not useful anymore. Sometimes we'll be holding a creature against a The Abyss. And sometimes (well, usually) we'll just want to cycle an existing land.

Browbeat is always a controversial inclusion, but having a 2-of has served me pretty well. Just don't forget to target the person you want to draw (yourself), not the person you want to deal damage to (your opponent). That's the kind of mistake a person only makes once...!

Now I did mention Burning Wish, so what are our targets? A lot are duplicates of good cards already in the deck, allowing the Wish to serve as a Demonic Tutor of sorts. Then there are some hosers like Deathmark, Nature's Ruin, and Anarchy. Then there are some situational cards—cards you never want to draw, because they're usually worthless, but you want to have the option of fetching, because sometimes they are phenomenal.

Misinformation Last Chance  Acidic Soil  Threaten

Aaaahhhhhhh (puts hands behind head, feet on desk). Here's the list. Consider it customizable.

 

Deck 2 Flight

Sailmonger

This too started with a premise: what kind of deck would benefit from 4 Sailmonger?

Giving my own creatures flying seems pointless, as my opponent could match it and block them as if nothing happened. A better option seems to be... give my opponents' creatures flying and then hose flying.

Green is the king of hosing fliers, so let's look over the best options:

Island of Wak-Wak  Matsu-Tribe Sniper  Crushing Vines

Eaten by Spiders  Arashi, the Sky Asunder  Arbor Colossus

Plummet is cheaper... but it's not as versatile as those 3-mana cards. And as for why we aren't using Whirlwind—our opponent could give flying to our creatures!

We'll need more than just 4 Sailmongers to grant flying. Ana Disciple is some nice (and cheap) redundancy. Power Matrix serves the same purpose, while also giving us the option of pumping our own creature. And since we can grant flying at will in so many ways... let's throw in some Student of Elementses! Always wanted to use that punk.

Ana Disciple  Power Matrix  Student of Elements

Since we are using Crushing Vines we've got artifacts covered, but what about enchantments? I considered options like the one-mana Emerald Charm or the thorough Primeval Light, until I realized... this deck doesn't have any enchantments of its own! The two-mana Back to Nature is the same thing as the four-mana Primeval Light.

And if you're curious about the 2x Outland Colossus... well no, he's not on-theme exactly, but we needed a high-end beater to supplement the 4x Arbor Colossus, and this guy certainly qualifies. And unlike Kalonian Hydra, Thornling, Vorapede, Whisperwood Elemental, etc., he isn't a mythic rare,  meaning he won't break the bank or get (as many) groans from our opponents. As of this article's writing, he only costs 1 single cent! We casual players have to think about this sort of thing, you know.

The rest of the deck is stall, acceleration, or utility, and doesn't really need my explication. (Except I would like to point out that Chromatic Lantern powers on the otherwise manaless Island of Wak-Wak.) Here's the list!

Since the Dawn of Man
We have looked to the skies with wonder
Creatures
4 Ana Disciple
2 Merfolk Looter
2 Student of Elements
3 Matsu-Tribe Sniper
2 Vine Trellis
4 Sailmonger
2 Arashi, the Sky Asunder
4 Arbor Colossus 
2 Outland Colossus
25 cards

Other Spells
2 Back to Nature
3 Crushing Vines
1 Eaten by Spiders
2 Chromatic Lantern
2 Power Matrix
10 cards
Lands
2 Island of Wak-Wak
4 Tropical Island
2 Temple of Mystery
10 Forest
7 Island
25 cards
 
Crushing Vines

 

 

Deck 3 Power-ful

Temur Ascendancy

I spent some time looking at all of those power-matters cards, until one day I snapped, and said I can't take it anymore; I have to try them myself.

Temur Ascendancy seems like the most abusable of them, as well as the most powerful one not to see tournament play. It's worth building the whole deck around, especially given its color requirements. So to start with, what other power-matters cards are we running? My favorites:

Garruk's Packleader  Crater's Claws  O-Naginata

Savage Punch  Stampeding_Elk_Herd.jpg  Temur Battle Rage

There are a lot of other options, but most are actually quite bad! The most common problem is that they don't become useful until after they're no longer useful, for instance Force Away or Circle of Elders.

The fun part of the deck isn't choosing power-matters cards though, it's choosing the high-powdered creatures to enable those cards. This being a casual deck, I don't want to just run a bunch of random bombs like Vengevine or Hero of Oxid Ridge or whatever. I want to run some janky tricks!

Keldon Vandals    

Principle 1: replace utility spells with high-powered creatures. So instead of regular removal, we're using Spitebellows. And instead of Shatter effects, we're using Keldon Vandals. (As an added bonus, the haste granted by Temur Ascendancy lets us attack with him even if we don't pay the echo!) Vexing Sphinx is a card I always like to use, but his double-blue cost makes him a tough fit in this particular deck.

Principle 2: use undercosted creatures with negligible drawbacks. Frost Walker usually isn't very good, but he is when he's a cantrip. Wall of Razors is a nice defensive touch for its cost. Esperzoa and Lavacore Elemental could be good in the right builds (even if not today's). Imaginary Pet is great when you have Temur Ascendancy out—but only when you do, so it's not worth the risk.

Principle 3: double up!! You could draw so many cards with just a single Viashino Sandstalker. Of course, he's a bit antiquated these days, thanks to the dash mechanic (Vaultbreaker is a BIT superior). Also don't forget Archwing Dragon.

Two last odds and ends before the decklist: it so happened that not one single creature of ours has an activated ability, so I added 2 Damping Matrix. And since our hand potentially gets glommed up with all the card draw, Knollspine Invocation seemed like a good outlet.

 

See you next time!