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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Jul 07 2008 9:58am
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First of all, I’d like to apologize for not writing an article for Monday. I’ve been really busy between school, a vacation, work, and testing too many formats. That said, I’ve been having a LOT of fun with Magic, and there’s going to be a few topics this article. It may well be more unfocused than a Hamtastic special (just teasing Hammy, you’re the best).

So, to start off, I did well on my tests (which is good, because I’d actually have to PAY for them if I didn’t). Then I played a TON of Kithkin in LS Block. This deck may not be the best deck, but if you subscribe to the theory that Faeries are the best deck, well, this deck tends to beat it. It has solid match-ups against most other block decks (but we’ll get to this).

The hardest part about running Kithkin is settling on a build. I’d recommend first looking at deckcheck.net and glancing through the various builds that have been performing well at PTQs, then go from there. Here’s a build I’ve been having a lot of fun with:

You drop dudes early (hopefully either a 2/2 on turn one, or a Windbrisk Heights), follow with more beats, hopefully curving into Spectral Procession on turn three, then a Lord before too long, finishing by simply out-racing them, or comboing out with a Mirrorweave on a Lord of your choice. You can typically kill on turn four-six with little interference from opponents. What happens if they do interefere?

Well, the deck is extremely resilient to Wrath of God effects, being able to drop a Procession after one and then turn on a Heath with it, a beater to pair with a Militia’s Pride to grow an army quickly, or a Cloudgoat Fondler… errr Cloudgoat Ranger (My bad) to have five power that can evade blockers next turn.

I choose to drop the Mirror Entity that was in some lists for Crib Swap. It gives you some of the same Tribal bonuses, and I always HATED dropping a 1/1 on turn three. I NEVER untapped with him alive (or it seemed that way at least).

For sideboarding, in general terms, you want to bring in Ajani and Brigid against aggro, and possibly the Borderguard.  The Militia's Pride, Forge-Tender (except against Red-based aggro) and Mirrorweaves can come out.  You shift into an aggro-control deck, playing your regular beat-down roll following up your mauling little men with cards that out-class their men (hopefully).  Against control, you want the Wispmares, O-Rings if they're G-based with fatties, and Borderguards to improve against Wrath effects.  Ajani can come in if they don't have ways to answer him that (aside from fat men on turn seven and the like).

You tend to beat RDW if you draw the Forge-Tenders (hence, running them MD), have an edge on Faeries and Mer and pretty much any other Lord-based deck. This is because your deck has a strong ability to play LARGE AMOUNTS OF CREATURES quickly, which works well when your opponent plays a Lord, because you can swing into his team, ‘Weave his Lord, blow up his board, and/or kill him. Since Lords are pretty good in this format, you are a solid deck.

As for the bad matchups… there’s a few. 5C Control tends to stomp you. Between Firespout, Cloudthresher, Cryptic Command, and various other hateful cards, they just answer every angle of attack. Also, the Shaman deck is a pain. They pretty much start out dropping dudes with large butts, then drop Doran to make those butts go on offense. They can block you all day, then kill you with ease. Little Kid GW is the third wrench in the gears. It does pretty much the same thing that Shaman does, but more so. These are your three bad matchups, and if they persist, you may want to rebuild the deck to attack them, or just move to a different deck.

So, what are the plays to watch for? As an aggo deck, you almost always want to be beating down, and Windbrisk Heights will reward you for this at a low cost. Given two mana, you can successfully Impulse and play a spell with this card, which is a very unfair result for a mere two mana. Typically when you play a Heights, you’re looking to hide a Mirrorweave (unless you have one in-hand), a Lord, or even a Goat Lover. By simply attacking and activating on the third or fourth turn, you gain a huge tempo-boost as you play an expensive spell while still possibly having mana to drop one more man.

Anytime there’s a lord on the board and you attack with more men than they have, they have to respect your ability to Mirrorweave the Lord and wipe their board or kill them. While you can do this on, say, turn five, the deck is really a FAST mid-range deck. This is because is has the aforementioned ability to recover from a wrath or slow start, and runs a ton of four and five CC cards. With a lot of previous aggro decks, an early Wrath was the end of you, or at least was a huge set-back.

Honestly, while there is a little bit of math and skill-base judgements to make, the deck is quit comfortable to pilot. I really enjoy it, and would recommend it unless you’re scared of a large amount of 5C, where I’d probably have to vote against it.

So, Kithkin is awesome. Know what else is awesome? X_Force_of_Will_X. Now I rarely complement a specific individual in an article, but I’d like to point out an AWESOME deed committed by this fellow. He has taken PDC to the next level (In my opinion) by sponsoring a Clan Cup. This is being documented at PDCmagic.com. To sum it up, he is personally funding a competition between the various PDC-playing clans. Now, you don’t have to be in a PDC-centric clan to join in. The Great Dweamhebbe jumped in last week and won a Standard event, quickly picking up ten points for DragonQuest.

In light of this, I joined a PDC clan to compete for the title. I joined PDC Planeswalkers just in time to play in the Standard event on Monday night. I played a tweaked build of Dark Evocation. I dropped Mournwhelks from the main-deck into the sideboard along with another card or two to allow for four main-deck Errant Ephemeron. Let me tell you, this dude is such a beating. A problem that DE would have before was simply being overwhelmed by burly men, but this let me drop burly men and overwhelm my opponents before they could recover.  I posted my decklist from the event here

I started off against wlrch. Except… he joined the game, then timed out. So, easy round one! Round two was a little tougher against hokusai22. From playing against him, I figured he was RDW, but looking at his deck now, I see it was BR Goblins. Both games he got me VERY low with Intimidator Initiate, Mudbutton Torchrunner, Keldon Marauders and Giantbaiting, and both games I pulled it out thanks to the wonderful Aven Riftwatcher. Giantbaiting was huge, allowing him to do four-eight out of a blank board, making it much harder for me to gauge when I could probably go aggro against him. I can’t recommend highly enough practicing against the new RDW builds that have the Initiate and try to Bait you, because it is hard to be ready for it without experiencing how much they can change the way you must play.

Round three was against cRUMMYdUMMY, who was with GBu Rock. This was yet another deck taking advantage of Shadowmoor cards, running both (Hungry Spiggan) and Scuzzback Marauders to beat you down repeatedly, with a bunch more 1/1s to complement the beats. As I recall, he won game one rather easily, I took game two with Ephemeron coming over the top, and game three he used Marauders in combination with Grim Harvest (That’s FOUL!!!!!!) to grind it out.

I made the Top Eight with a 2-1 record. I was paired against joekewwl, who was running Grimdrifter. It was pretty much the same as Dark Evocation, but without the luxury of Aven Riftwatcher and Blinks, but with Tendrils of Corruption for life-gain.  I won on the back of early aggro starts (Ravenous Rats, suspended EEs, and 3CC men), and hold Remove Soul to stall his 187 effects.  Plus, he mulled into oblivion game three.

In the Top Four, cRUMMYdUMMY was rockin' The Rock.  He had early disruption in Augur of Skulls and Ravenous Rats, and followed up with beats like Scuzzback Marauders and (Hungry Spriggen).  These were the troubling cards for me.  Given a good hand, he could be me unless I drew all my answers.  Plus, Grim Harvest and Marauders were a huge pain.  So, I think I lost the first game... it was ugly.  Game two though I had access to my Macabres and Festercreeps though... I get the three-for-one of Rats, Augur and Spriggan on turn four, and blow him out from there.  Game three was a tight game.  I was able to ramp up a ton of mana, but he started recurring Marauders.  I couldn't find a Macabre to save my life and had to start doing silly things like "Teachings into Soot, play Soot after attacks are declared,", and flash it back.  Finally I hit a Faerie, tore up his GY, and killed him with dudes brought back from the dead.

In the finals, Boin and I faced off in a pseudo-mirror.  He had UBr G(r)imdrifter, while I was the UBWr build, essentially giving up his main-deck Mournwhelks and Tendrils of Corruption for Aven Riftwatcher and Momentary Blink.  Game one he won a long grinder due to finding his Grim Harvest + Mournwhelk + Mulldrifter setup.  I won game two with fast beats and a slow start on his part.  Game three, he showed off his Gathan Raiders sideboard tech, which really messed up the way I played.  I focused too  much on removing it when I could have just sat back and chumped it with recurred Ragers and then later Mulldrifters.  However, this was working as I got three men on the table and attacked with two, with a Blink in my GY to flash back in case he had removal for the one... the problem was I overlooked his TWO SOOTS in his GY.  So, he blew away my men and killed me facing lethal.  I don't want to take anything away from Boin, as he had a dominant week, I just want to point out:  Don't miss the Flashback cards!

I'm having a TON of fun with MTGO right now (not the case when V3 first came up), and I feel confidant I will continue to enjoy it!  If you have any questions, PM me or leave a post here.


Slightly different decklist by greyfriar (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 07/14/2008 - 18:54
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I thought this article was fantastic--I play a fair amount of MTGO and usually end up losing. I get hung up on romantic decklists ( "This all knights idea is brilliant!") and spend a lot of time hoping that my elaborate scheme will come to fruition.


I got tired of this state of affairs today and put together a list based on what cards I already had, and my budget, but it was essentially Walker's list. Not only have I won a startling majority of my matches, I've had a blast with MTGO for the first time in a solid month. I thought I'd post my slightly different list as a sign of gratitude, and for any comments anyone wanted to make.


Creatures are exactly the same, with the difference of Zealous Guardian for Burrenton Forge-Tender, which is now in the sideboard.

Spells are basically the same (I've been having to run a mirror entity instead of one of the mirrorweaves, because I just haven't finished trading yet and got impatient) except I don't run the Rustic Clachan. Instead, I run 3 Crib Swaps and 3 Steel of Godhead. I find that the advantage of having an unblockable lifegainer makes a big difference.


I would run the mutavault if I had it. At the moment, it's just the windbrisk and the plains.


Finally, the side board is a little different because of needing to side in the Forge-Tender.

2x Ajani Goldmane 3x Brigid 3x Oblivion 3x Burrenton 4x Wispmare. 

It even does ok against Little Kid GW if you side in the oblivions and wispmares for the crib swaps, militias, and two mirrorweaves.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. Keep up the good work.  

Inspired by greyfriar at Tue, 07/15/2008 - 10:32
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So I'm really thankful for this decklist--I'm a frequent player, but I often get myself lost in romantic deck ideas ("All knights! Brilliant!"). This list inspired me to put together a list that has me winning decidedly more than losing for the first time in months. I thought I'd share the idea behind it to express my gratitude.

 Basically, I took this exact list, and substituted in 4 steel of Godhead for the rustic clachans. In order to make it hit more, I through in zealous guardian for the forge tenders (which are now in my sideboard, replacing the bordergaurd). I'd put in the mutavaults, but I don't have the money right now. Anyway, the list works great and can pretty easily get past Little Kid GW, although still having some problems with the elementals deck, mostly depending on draw. 


Still, great work, and thanks for the help.



by cRUMMYdUMMY at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 09:00
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Haha, no problem.  Even happens to the best of us.

My bad CD by walkerdog at Tue, 07/08/2008 - 05:32
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I forgot about that, yea.  Probably a faily important detail :)  Sorry about your bad luck.

Our Top 4 Match by cRUMMYdUMMY at Mon, 07/07/2008 - 19:19
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I guess you don't remember games two and three of our top four match.  Game two ended when I mulliganed to a four card hand.  Game three ended when I mulliganed to a three card hand. I don't think games two and three lasted more than a combined two minutes total.  I conceded shortly after turn four or five in both games.

Good stuff, Walkerdog! by khirareq at Mon, 07/07/2008 - 12:40
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Love the PDC recaps!  Shame about your clan getting DQ'd, though...

Bwahahah by walkerdog at Mon, 07/07/2008 - 13:16
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S'all right... turns out after the DQ, we still have enough points with the new name to be in 4th currently :)

(For anyone interested, the DQ was a joke related to how our name was spelled incorrectly).