whiffy penguin's picture
By: whiffy penguin, George Efelis
Jun 30 2008 9:27pm
Login or register to post comments

Welcome to another day of mania with the penguin!

Last week we saw the first Classic PE fire since VER 3.short bus went live.We fired with 24 people about ten minutes after the start time.  I personally had a very poor experience in the PE, going a total of 1-3 drop. I chose to play a variation on Red Thresh that I have been trying to port from legacy. The deck is your standard Thresh deck except that it has a very unusal element to it that makes it very meta specific. If you were playing a match against Thresh and they drop say a Blood Moon on turn three, what would you do?  By the way your mana base is rife with fetch lands and duals. Oh yea and the Thresh player has out a basic Forest with Force of Will to back up his moon.  Now imagine that this deck also features a Counterbalance, Sensei's Divining Top engine to allow it to play control with out any Island's, and big fat red men to play clean up after you lock down an opponents mana base with a moon. Well I think you'd say "Gee whiff, ya know I would probably wet myself a little." In all seriousness Moon Thresh is  pretty potent  in the right meta, unfortunatly for me I drew into the wrong matchups  for what the deck was trying to accomplish. Heres the list and then its another episode  of "How the gears turn".

Moon Thresh


4xNimble Mongoose
3xFledgling Dragon


3xSensei's Divining Top


4xForce of Will
4XSpell Snare


4xLightning Bolt
2xBlood Moon

How To Play Your Cards

4xWooded Foothills
2xPolluted Delta
2xFlooded Strand
3xBreeding Pool
3xSteam Vents

Helps You Beat The Other Guy

2xBlood Moon
1xMagus of the Moon
3xTrygon Predator
1xSensei's Divining Top
1xPithing Needle
2xEngineered Explosives



Fledgling Dragon

Now that you have had a chance to look at it go back up and look for synergy. Can you find it?  I hope so cause it is every where or it would be if we had Daze. I'll start off with the  mana base in reguards to how the deck is set up to operate. First up is 4x foothills and then 4x blue fetch's, foothills are needed to go fetch out a forest so that you will be able to opperate under a Blood Moon. There are three islands  to up the odds that you draw into one naturally. You only need one island after Counterbalance has landed to play every blue card in your deck.  Further more you can play out a moon controling all nonbasics, with a top in hand or in play you stand a much better chance of drawing into colored lands then your opponent. There are only three vents because well you only really need two red mana and Blood Moon will supply many mountains for you.

You may notice a distinct lack of Counterspell this is because it requires two blue to cast and hopefully you will have a moon down sooner then later making said counter semi-usless. Instead we have a nice counter base of Spell Snare, Force of Will and Counterbalance all doing things realativly on the free side not needing to have to many islands.

There are an abundance of filtering spells 15 to be exact and 8 fetchlands to accompany them. You have your standard four packs of Brainstorm and Ponder but also get in on a card that has fallen out of favor in Classic. Predict is nice in this deck as it combo's with the Top or the balance very nicely. When you have either of these two on the table and a Predict in hand you can flush away an unwanted card in favor of digging through your deck and in a pinch it is +2 to threshold so that you can grow your geese and dragons. Portent makes an apperance as a one of because you can never have enough sorcerys and it has an added bonus of messing with your opponents deck. Imagine that you have an advantage on board when you play portent you should always target your opponent so that you give him the chance of three dead draws. Portents value skyrockets in the Flash matchup or any deck valuing any of the mirage block tutors. It's good times when you can waste an opponents tutor and specifaccaly when you bring it into the graveyard via Predict which is stellar vs any turtor deck. Sensei's Divining Top is probaly the best 1st turn play you can have as the abilaty to filter every one of your draws is huge when you need to dig for different cards. It is not a coincidence that top is a widly played card in any format it is or was legal in.

Winning with this deck most often comes down to an unanswered dragon. You will win your usall amount of games through early large green men backed up by counters but Fledgling Dragon is huge, connecting for seven damage a swing on average. At four mana you may wonder why there are three copys instead of two. The first reason is that there is a higher filter count then most other Thresh decks. With almost twice the amount of cards that say draw a card on them it is much easyer to get to four mana then in tradishonal thresh builds. Secondly is that playing a moon out will hurt you theres no doubt about it, having a win condition that dosent care if you have moon out or not is spectacular. Lastly you have a slightly higer mana count at 18 then most decks that run 17. Winning the rest of your games is Tarmogoyf and Nimble Mongoose they are the best green creatures for there cost and are two of the most heavily played creatures in Classic. They will shrug off most removal and blockers making your opponent dead as fast as possible.

Lastly for the main deck is bolt and moon. By now you should have an understanding that moon is fantastic against a large portion of  the field. Play it out as quick as your able if you have a forest or a threat down. If you need a little time stall untill you draw a forest or dragon then denigh your opponent the chance to play out most of his hand. Blood Moon also sits at the three drop which is the only spell in your deck that combined with Counterbalance can stop some of the annoying cards that most thresh decks must use a fow or counterspell on.  A tip for combatting  Krosan Grip is to leave the moon on top all the time and only moving it via your upkeep. You do this to get around split second, even though you cant respond the grip sets up a counterbalance trigger and you have a chance to blindly counter it .Lightning Bolt wins goyf battles, brings an opponent low, or cleans up the battle field for your guys to swing through.

 The best hand you can ask for consists of a Steam Vents, an Island or Forest, the opposite color fetch land, a Top, a Counterbalance, and a moon effect. I relize that six cards is a lot but you will have two-three draws to complete the best hand. When facing an opponent with a heavy non-basic mana base turn 3 moon is a potential game ender having either a Counterbalance or a Sensei's Divining Top will make it much easyer to put something of relavence onto the table before your opponent can.  Althought Blood Moon is a cripaling play it will be next to useless in some of your matchups. Like Goblins, Dredge, Rdw, Sensei Sensei, and any other strong basic land builds you come across. Thats why there are only two main deck to make sure that you wont see them if you dont want to. In relation to the fact that there are only two try not to show it to your opponent if you are in position of winning. If you draw it early by all means run it out, but if you dont have to show them game one then they wont be expecting you to run it out in game 2. After sideboarding you have five Moons making a turn 3 play happen very often.

The sideboard  starts out with three more moons to really hamper any player reliying on non-basics. You should side all three in against any deck that has few basics to make the most of your chance to warp the rules. Engineered Explosives will come in against Elf-clamp, Thresh, and any other decks with a low curve. It is alright to throw down a moon if your opponent has down a beater if you have an explosives in hand to deal with it. I will ussaly try to force down a moon and back it up with the E.E. against thresh even if they have a guy and I dont it is correct to lock them out first then clean up the board. Pyroblast comes in against heavy blue decks and has a nice synergy with  Blood Moon making it relativly easy to twart your opponent while he needs blue to do the same. Trygon Predatoris a guy that I like, you should already know why I like him from the articles "Learning to hate", and "The house that Thresh build". Pithing Needle can randomly win you the game or stop an opponent from doing the same, side it in against a heavily activated abillaty build. Rounding out the side board is copy four of the counter/top lock. These should come in straight away for the Blood Moons if you cant stop them from playing their spells, you can try to stop them from resolving.

Moving onto my PE experience is a dismal 1-3 drop .

In round one i played against  Jsutton74 who was runing elfs! I beleive this was an extented deck as i didnt see a single classic card in it. In game one he was able to play out two Wellwishers and have the time to activate one of them three times with the help of a Wirewood Lodge and a Seeker of Skybreak gaining 15 life from 4 while I had a dragon down to eat him on the next turn. I sided in the  explosives the needle and the extra counter/top, taking out both moons and all three predicts.  In game two i mulled twice looking for a keepable hand and my opponent comenced the beatdown train starting with a Llanowar Elves into  a Timberwatch Elf into a Lys Alana Huntmaster and a host of guys to crank out some tokens. I was eaily overrun and cursed my lack of an explosives.

In round two I faced off against Osmanozguney playing an unorthodox affinaty build. In game one I get trounced by artifacts Disciple of the Vault, Tarmogoyf! and Thoughtseize! I didnt really have a chance here and my Blood Moons wouldnt have done much against the fact that his lands still retain artifact status. I side out both moons a dragon and all three Predicts for 3 trygons 2 explosives and a needle. Game two I drop some quick beats and keep guys off his side of the table while he dosen't draw much. In game three I make a huge mistake. It is late in the game and I am staring at three Arcbound Workers and nothing else. I have about 5 lands out and finally topdeck an explosives. So I play it and pass because im greedy. Well wouldnt ya know he is holding a Krosan Grip to ruin my day and I succumb to the three 1/1's.

In round three it is B-Y-E. I don't know what he's playing as the client glitches out and give's me an auto win. I sure hope he requested a refund cause I would be heated if that happened to me.

Round four is walker dog playing 4c Thresh. In game one I mulligan my first hand and apparently the client thought it would be fun to make me mull four times to a hand  of two islands and a blood moon. I play it out for a little while finding a third land and resovling the Blood Moon but I died as sure as I thought I would. Siding in all 3 moon effects  both explosives and the extra counter/top I took out all the bolts and Predicts. Predict is probally the weakest card against them as I never want to play it on him. Lightning Bolt  comes out becasue I can't kill anything with it and I would rather have the removal in Engineered Explosives and protection in a full counter/top lock. In game two it comes down to a staring contest he has three goyfs and a 3/3 mongoose. I have two goyfs and a mongoose that is also quite beefy. We are both sitting at about 10 life neither of us able to make a move. I brainstorm into two Fledgling Dragons and play one out. He plays a little draw go and then ...my comp siezes for about ten minutes while I watch in despair. When my puter starts acting normaly I get back into the game and swing through. Trying out the second dragon  he meets the tail end of a closed door slamed by walkers counter. He draws and I beleive he concedes here but my memory is a little fuzzy. In game three were off to a quick stalemate as he lands a goyf and I have one in hand but then my comp goes back into a fit and when I am eventually allowed to move about the client again I only have 45 seconds left on my clock. So I wish walker good luck and head off to watch some tv.

When I checked the results I saw that the Top 8 looked like this.
2x 4c Thresh
2x Dredge
1x ext port of Next Lvl Blue
1x Affinaty(Osmanozguney)
1x Elf-Clamp
1x ?

The winners were The _Hoff playing Dredge and Andurill66 playing Next Lvl Blue, they split in the finals.

I just want to say thank you for everyone who came out and made the Pe fire. Even though I had a bad day I can't wait to jump back in and crack the top 8 again.  

Since the winners posted their decks on the Classic Quarter I will post them here for you guys to veiw.

Dredge By The_Hoff
Bridge from Below

Main deck

4xPutrid Imp
1xFlame-Kin Zealot
1xCephalid Sage
3xDeep Analysis
3xDread Return
4xBridge from Below
4xCephalid Coliseum
4xGemstone Mine
4xCareful Study
3xCabal Therapy
4xGolgari Grave-Troll
4xLion's Eye Diamond
4xCity of Brass
2xGolgari Thug
4xStinkweed Imp


Side board

4xLeyline of the Void
4xChain of Vapor
1xSimic Sky Swallower
2xEchoing Truth
4xPithing Needle








Next Lvl Blue by Andurill66

Main deck

1x Phyrexian Dreadnought
1x Engineered Explosives

3x Sensei's Divining Top
2x Counterbalance

2x Trinket Mage
4x Tarmogoyf

2x Thirst for Knowledge
4x Brainstorm

3x Stifle
2x Spell Snare
1x Force Spike
4x Force of Will
4x Counterspell




1xAcademy Ruins
2x Breeding Pool
4x Flooded Strand
1x Hallowed Fountain
5x Island
4x Polluted Delta
1x Seat of the Synod
1x Tree of Tales
2x Watery Grave
4x Chrome Mox

Side board

2x Sphere of Law
1x Hurkyl's Recall
2x Threads of Disloyalty
1x Sower of Temptation
3x Krosan Grip
1x Pithing Needle
1x Tormod's Crypt
2x Vedalken Shackles

Trinket Mage


Thanks for reading!


Sometimes by The_Hoff (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 07/01/2008 - 09:18
The_Hoff (Unregistered)'s picture

Some days are just rough.  I hate playing against non-metagame based decks whiffster.  Nice article and thanks for the t8 breakdown.  GOGO Magic Eternal :)

by hamtastic at Tue, 07/01/2008 - 09:28
hamtastic's picture

Ouch, rough tournament I guess.  :(

I hadn't read much about Red Thresh before so I did some digging and found that it's a different beast altogether in Legacy and is used to do something a bit different than we need in Classic.  A lot of the reason for the Blood Moon plan in Legacy is to premptively shut down Wasteland and Landstill sheninagans.  Of course the synergy between Blood Moon and Fledgling is very sweet, but it just feels like it's a bit too much work to pull off in Classic (without the duals) for not a lot of gain right now.

For example, to hit bloodmoon mana and still be able to cast your non-dragon creatures/spells, you need to burn a two fetches to get your basic lands and a third to get your Red Mana since once you Moon the board you can't fetch out those cards and waiting to draw into them isn't really an option in Classic, what with the aggro of affinity and burn coming at you.

I think that getting some real duals will help a lot.  So will having players relying on Wasteland, and watching them squirm once they get them turned into mountains. :)

Mostly because the deck LOOKS solid.  It should have a decent matchup in the format, but due to a few issues (no duals, no wasteland) it seems hard to make it pan out.     

Was not my favorite pe either by DRAGONDUNG at Tue, 07/01/2008 - 10:23
DRAGONDUNG's picture

I joined up so it would launch, I knew i did not have the time to finish fig i would play two maybe three rounds.  Then game one i won with nought, game two i go to flash i use summoner pact on turn two or three oops! I had been fooling around with deck list and forgot to add the hulks.  I half thought about just conceding then figured what the heck lets see what i can muster.  I pull anything that will be dead in the deck and go stifle nought with some added junk from flash.  I ended up winning match one with out my win condition.  I felt so dumb i had to drop.