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By: whiffy penguin, George Efelis
May 13 2008 2:43am
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Hello everyone, welcome to Whiffy’s Lunch Box. I’m Whiffy penguin on MTGO and also most message boards.  This is going to be a new weekly column here on PureMTGO about the Classic format. I have a lot of big ideas about classic and this article series but, I must make certain precautions as to not step on the toes of any of my fellow classic column mates.
 
Let me go over who I am and why I play Classic so that you can get a better picture at what i'm getting at and why I so enjoy the journey to get from point a to point b.  My name is George Efelis and I have been playing this game that we all enjoy from the release of Alliances when I was a scant 13 years old.  Now I took a few “breaks” through the years but I always find my self drawn back in to Magic, yes it is that alluring.  We all remember when we started playing. It was fun and new, and even though you knew you were doing it wrong you enjoyed it. I started playing MTGO around the release of Champions of Kamigawa playing mostly Standard but finally settling into classic about two weeks after the release of Masters Edition.

So, why do I enjoy Classic over every other format and think that it is so great in fact that I wanted to spread the word and strengthen the format?  Well to me it is a representent of the hay day of magic, when card advantage was really becoming apparent as a key strategy and before the “advent” of tempo. I’m talking Type 1 here, not Vintage or any silly acronyms but back in the good ol’ days when all the formats were numbered, all THREE of them. Do you remember when the pictured creatures were the cream of the crop, bashing faces like there was no tomorrow? That’s what I like to refer to as the silver age of magic, right around the release of Tempest but before the mistake that is Urza’s block. Now don’t get me wrong I love that mistake and Urzas era Standardis my favorite format.  It fundamentally changed the way the game was played and looked at by deck builders and all the rest of the cardboard slinging populace. What does that have to do with Classic you may be wondering. It is what drew me in to the format, Classic is the eternal format of modo . Meaning that you can play any card except for Gleemox and are restricted to one of  Flash and one of Vampiric Tutor  but you still get to play with any card you may have lying around which makes it a sound investment for the long haul and heck i’m 12 years deep I better think of tomorrow today so to speak.

Currently we have been given the entire mirage block and a smattering of pre existing cards, much like when I fist started playing seriously. Now there are a lot of things a 15 year old kid can't get and not surprisingly 9-10 cardboard rectangles worth 10x there weight in gold are on this list of nigh unachievable things. Luckily said squares of hardened paper are not in digital form so it is a trip down the ol' memory lane when ever I think of Classic , and I’m sure that it will continue to be so until we are all caught up on modo with all the blocks. Another reason I enjoy Classic is that it is the most powerful of the online formats and the speediest meaning that I can finish five rounds of Swiss in a PE in about three to three and a half hours, maximizing my time and effort.

Ok ok enough with why I play, how about we get to the nitty gritty or why you should continue to read my rantings. I would like for this column in no particular order to help shed light on archetypes, help build existing and new archetypes through testing, walkthroughs of PE's , and possibly stimulate conversation and theory on classic. My overall goal is to have you the reader become impassioned with classic the way I and many of the regular classic players are.

So for the first installment of the lunch box i’m going to share my Bomberman builds that I have had recent success with. To start out with how about a quick rundown of the decks goals and how it plays?
Erhnam Djinn


Serra Angel


Sengir Vampire


This is a blue white graveyard based combo deck with the goal of sticking an Auriok Salvagers, Lion's Eye Diamond and a Pyrite Spellbomb.

The combo involves sacking the Diamond or “led” for three white mana then using the Salvagers ability to recur the led form your graveyard netting one mana every cycle. When you have enough mana (usually about five or six cycles) you sac for three red and then blow two life chunks out of your opponents face over and over again. The deck accomplishes this with the help of Trinket Mage which will go ahead and fetch the artifacts you need out of your deck and out them into your hand. The deck relies on blue to help protect your combo and your life from the opponent via Force of Will and Counterspell and a touch of white for Swords to Plowshares. Here is a list that I used to place in the top four of a PE, first in the Classic Quarter semi-Invitational and a record of two and three in another PE narrowly missing the top eight.

 

This was my first run of the build. I scoured the web looking for a list to start off with and found very little to work with, just two lists out of an hours search. I had no idea of how to play it or what its bad match ups were, and it was so rough that the very first draft contained green for sideboarding Krosan Grip. I did however know that I wanted to be able to beat Thresh and Landstill.  I know in this format that those are  the main decks to gun for, and this list, as rough as it looks, can take on both of those decks with ease.

Here’s what you may be asking your self right now. If this is a combo deck why are two of the pieces singletons? Well I'll tell ya this deck is built to take the long game, it’s really a control deck that can snatch the win instantly instead of beating down with one monster, turn after turn. The beauty is that your opponent will be working very hard to stop your combo if he knows what your playing but this is fine as you have a pretty good assortment of beat down to compliment your combo, and if they don’t know what your playing you can always just combo out since they wont be expecting it.

The ideal opening hand for this deck is one that contains a turn four win via the combo, this rarely happens though as you need to have a lot of the key cards or Trinket Mages. Normal play however will consist of you playing defense for a long time clearing the board or countering threats as you reach the mid game around turn five or so. By this time you should be looking at a way to stick an angel or assemble your combo if you can do either then your on a good start to ending the game.

I'd like to take a moment here to talk about Exalted Angel and “plan B” or the beat down. Plan B is actually your route to victory in this build. With the combo taking up so little space you are free to add the angels, also your tutors and combo engine are all guys that swing . I think the reason that this deck does so well is that opponents over fight the combo aspect of this deck weakening them to my creature assault while they try to stop a combo that only really gets played in the long long game or on accident. There is also a fun little trick with the angel and a led, if you have one mana you can sac the led to morph. This has won me a few games as people tend to forget about the diamond when they are calculating combat.

The rest of the deck is pretty much all about slowing them down while you draw or look at an absurd number of cards. Fact or Fiction is a house, digging five cards down and with a Brainstorm or Sensei's Divining Top on the table you get to see eight cards. Its slow though to get to a point where you can cast a FoF.  A  problem I had with this deck  was the land count and Sensei’s Divining Top causing me to mulligan too often and tie up my mana awkwardly when I need to be maximizing it so I took it back to the drawing board and have come up with a list that can fight two different meta games with a small tweak to the main and side. Here’s the newest list and one that I used to place top eight in of the last Classic PE.

 
This build is set up to face a sea of Landstill, Thresh, any storm combo decks, bomberman itself and most creature aggro decks. Switching the Teferis for Angels and Memory Lapses for Spell Snare will give you a much more potent weapon for Red Deck Wins or any other agro deck and will help out by generally taking over in the long game. Sideboard changes would be at your discretion although I would remove the meekstone as it conflicts with angel.

The mana count is just about perfect now by sacrificing the top and a  main deck explosives for two more lands. Sunbeam Spellbomb  became Salvagers number four to streamline the combo, because he is more important, and the Fact or Fictions became Thirst for Knowledge since I was able to up the artifact land and I need the smaller casting cost of thirst over the pricier but far more powerful FoF.

Teferi is a house plain and simple!  If you stick this guy you will win almost every time, all of a sudden it blanks countermagic and combat tricks,  also every thing is played at sorcery speed tying up your opponents mana and generally causing them fits. He will also let you combo off with impunity not needing to fear a stp or TrickbindMemory Lapse is there as a way to help in a top deck war or as a way to force dead draws on an opponent, and in a pinch you can target your own spell to safely draw it the next turn.  The funny looking Arcane Labs/Rule of Law are there for your storm match up which is abysmal, Although they would me much better if they were Stifle and would propose that change helping you out vs.Flash as well which was a bit tough. Now that you know the deck and how it runs what about a little match up analysis?
 
Landstill
 
You have a slight edge here as you are also a combo deck as well as a control deck, giving you opportunities to end the game late with a combo turn after turn, because of the way the combo works you can pitch pieces to thirst for knowledge early to gain ca and then combo out at the best time . Resolving Teferi is what your looking to do. If you can get him down and protect him you will almost always have the time and security to diligently dig up your combo. Pithing needle should be set to Mishra’s Factory  unless you have already killed some, this will put a kink in there gears forcing them to slow down even more.

Depending on the build your facing you really don’t want to sb anything as the deck is built to tangle with landstill.
Standstill
 
Thresh

This is the easiest of your matches. You want to counter and stp your way out of the early game.

Do what ever you have to even throwing your guys under the Tarmogoyf bus. Once you get to turn four or five your going to  be all about recurring explosives over and over again, then you can either mop up with beat down or the combo.

Sideboard is usually -1 Pithing Needle, -2 Memory Lapse.  I bring in the Shackles, Meekstone and Explosives.  
Nimble Mongoose
 

Flash

I am not going to lie this is a tough match.  However the hate in the format is keeping the deck down and I don’t see you running in to it enough to actually be worried. Pretty much just hold onto the match by the skin of your teeth. This is winnable but you have to play super tight and have a good understanding of flash to win it out.
 
Sbing would be +4x stifle - 2x stp -1 needle -1 explosives
Flash


Rdw
This is about 50/50 it all depends on if they get the uber draw or not. If they don’t get the I win draw, tight play and an eye for the future turns will have it happen for you. This is a pretty mindless deck so there’s not a lot of match up theory other then try to stay at
 about ten life if possible.


Sideboarding is +3 cop: red - 1 explosives -1 memory lapse -1 swords. You keep most of the swords in to gain seom emergency life from your own future farmers! 



 
Fireblast

 
I don’t like going to into detail on theory as it is just that. Once the PE’S start I will have
 walkthroughs to better outline the inner workings of each build I put forth.  The best
 advice I could give you is to build it and play a couple of matches with it. I hope you
 enjoyed this and next week we’ll move onto another deck that has treated me well.
 
Thanks for reading, whiffy out.

4 Comments

GREAT JOB by DRAGONDUNG at Wed, 05/14/2008 - 08:13
DRAGONDUNG's picture

GREAT JOB WHIFFY!  I look forward to more walkthroughs and your insight of some of the top Classic decks.  These kind of articles are really good for the Classic Community and will help new players ease in to a deck and play style that fits their needs.  A few articles like this may lure a few players into trying Classic out.  Keep up the work if you need stats just let me know I am getting them all updated during this long break of no PE's.

by whiffy penguin at Tue, 05/13/2008 - 15:59
whiffy penguin's picture

So yea thx for the kind words there UtH. i hope that i wont disapoint as i actually enjoyed writing this more then i thought i would and would feel it would be a shame if i couldnt captivate my audience.

Mikey J. sorry that it is run of the mill but to be honest only 2 other authors on the net are tackling the same subject matter that i am even though the procdure is run of the mill i beleive the content and focus is new and refreshing. I would be remiss if this article just turned into another weekly deck check but i am aming for the serious classic PE players out there and since there is so little classic content it will resemble that from time to time but i do hope to jazz it up because everyone needs to differeniate themselvs or the audience will grow bored.  any ways thx for reading.

by Under_the_hammer (Unregistered) 139.133.7.38 (not verified) at Tue, 05/13/2008 - 04:27
Under_the_hammer (Unregistered) 139.133.7.38's picture

The start of a very promising serious written by one of Classics top achieving players.  A useful read for the format novice and I expect classic die hards will look forward to the promised walk throughs in later articles.  It is good to see such good players/writers covering classic here on puremtgo. I am sure many are waiting for the return of the replay enabled PE's and I can really only see classic growing in popularity and support.  Good job Whiffy I look forward to the next article.

by Mikey J. (Unregistered) 144.183.31.2 (not verified) at Tue, 05/13/2008 - 07:33
Mikey J. (Unregistered) 144.183.31.2's picture

Another article about the same stuff, but at least you took the time to write one, which is more than I have accomplished.  Good luck on future articles.  Please try to bring something new or more interesting than the run-of-the-mill analysis every mtgo website has beat to death.