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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
May 15 2007 3:16pm
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PDC is an all player run format on Magic Online.  It consists of competitive games using exclusively commons cards.  Games can be found in the "/join pdc" room and events can be found on the Magic Online official message boards.  For more information please visit paupermagic.com.

Recently over at www.paupermagic.com, I started a thread asking the community to help build my next deck. This would be a combination of the Building on a Budget articles and You Make the Card over at the mothership. I asked for suggestions, whether they be cards, ideas, or decks themselves. I selected one or two of these to build a deck around. I then open up the development process to the masses, showing you all what changes get made, why, and giving you the opportunity to guide the decks evolution. I know this is not an original idea, but hey, I thought it would be something nice to try for both the PDC and PureMTGO communities. So, let us begin.
The winner, as it were, of this mock contest, was the original host of SPDC, the Thursday evening Standard PDC event, idoru. Ironically, I will be developing a Classic deck based around two cards of the former hosts suggestion: Dirty Wererat and Tolarian Winds.

 
Dirty Wererat
 
Tolarian Winds

That is correct folks, I am building another Madness deck! And the best part is that as Future Sight becomes available, I will be able to incorporate those fun new cards into idoru.dec. Awesome sauce!
Madness and Threshold both lend themselves to an aggro-control strategy, much like Deep Dog. However, Black provides very different options than Green, such as good removal, decent sized men, and discard. Additionally, the Blue/Black cards fit this style of deck much better than the Blue/Green cards. And Black loves the graveyard, so this opens up a ton of possibilities.
Getting started however, I begin with four of the key cards

4 Dirty Wererat
4 Tolarian Winds

Building off of that, I want to increase my creature base with synergistic cards. Seeing the graveyard as a theme, I immediately look to Looter il-Kor, as he provides evasive beats and a consistent discard outlet. He will help fuel a big Rat and get rid of Winds if I do not want them. Very nice.
But as of now, that is the only creature I am sold on. Keeping with the theme of emulating Deep Dog and of creating a Madness/Threshold deck, I look at rounding out at about 18-22 creatures, giving me between 10 and 14 slots left. Looking to my collection, I have a lot of interesting choices. In the “fits the theme category” I have Mindlash Sliver, Putrid Imp, Pit Keeper, Cabal Torturer, Treacherous Werewolf, Trespasser il-Vec, Urborg Syphon-Mage, and Brain Gorgers. In the much smaller utility camp, I have Crypt Creeper and Man-o'-War. Interesting choices to make.
I know I want a one drop, and the Imp has the benefit of potential evasion and is free to activate, so he gets the nod over the Sliver. Moving forward, I am coming around on Brain Gorgers enough to include him in this initial list. Note I did not mention Gorgon Recluse here because I feel that card is better suited as a sideboard option, especially in a two color deck where having BB open might be difficult. This leaves between 2 and 6 slots for creatures. There is a lot of great stuff left to choose from, so I may start shaving numbers here and there. First, Pit Keeper is just the man. He beats early and does a great Gravedigger impression late. I think 3 is the right number to start with. Because of the tightness of the design here, I am going to have to forgo inserting the Creeper and the Jellyfish. Instead, I will use the synergistic utility package of 1 Torturer, 1 Syphon-Mage. This leaves1 slot left, but I feel I want some more potential fat, so I cut one of the Gorgers and make room for the ugly, but fat, Werewolf. Two of them in fact.

Brain Gorgers

Pretty good on turn two

Looking at the deck now, we have
4 Tolarian Winds
4 Looter il-Kor
3 Brain Gorgers
1 Cabal Torturer
4 Dirty Wererat
3 Pit Keeper
4 Putrid Imp
2 Treacherous Werewolf
1 Urborg Syphon-Mage

Now comes the time for spells. Already I have a long list that include many fun and powerful options. But to start things off, a signature of nearly all my decks with Black in them, one Grim Harvest. Why? Well, it is just plain of good, that is why. Oh, and it gives this deck significant late-game power.
As for the rest of the spells, I am playing Blue, so I do want some counterspells, in you go Rune Snag. Feast of Flesh is also nice, as it scales quite well in this deck and gains us some life, usually a good thing. And that brings us to 35 cards. I do not like to go above 37 cards with 23 land in a deck like this. My last two options are both potent ones: Dark Withering and Probe. I like both, but with all the creature based removal in this deck, I am going to go with the game breaking Sorcery as a two-of in this case. Another reason for including the Blue spell- it helps to maintain a good color balance, always important n a tight deck such as this.
As for the lands, four Terramorphic Expanse are a must, as are one of each Cycling land and two (Dimir Aqueducts). After that, it is a matter of finding a balance. I like to count colored mana symbols on the cards and divide by two for a rough estimate. This gives us a breakdown of

4 Terramorphic Expanse
2 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Barren Moor
1 Lonely Sandbar
7 Island
8 Swamp

Like I said, rough estimate. This gives us a completed initial decklist of:

4 Rune Snag
2 Probe
1 Grim Harvest
4 Feast of Flesh
4 Tolarian Winds
4 Looter il-Kor
3 Brain Gorgers
1 Cabal Torturer
4 Dirty Wererat
3 Pit Keeper
4 Putrid Imp
2 Treacherous Werewolf
1 Urborg Syphon-Mage
4 Terramorphic Expanse
2 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Barren Moor
1 Lonely Sandbar
7 Island
8 Swamp

Grim Harvest

Playing the role of Wild Mongrel this week is Grim Harvest

 

Time for a test drive. I am hesitant to build a sideboard right away, as I do not have a clear idea of the decks weaknesses yet, although I do have some idea. Rather, once I have a few matches under my belt (at least five), I will revisit the idea of sideboarding, and make some changes.

Game the first is against Bl4ckburn, a new face to the PDC room (at least to me). He was running a sob-optimal RG Aggro build, which is still probably too much for this deck to handle in the first incarnation. Early on in game one I draw Winds, and realize it is not that great when you have good stuff in your hand. Hmmm, maybe four is too many. Regardless, onward! At the end of his turn 8, I winds for four, and see some slightly more useful cards. This helps somewhat, as I draw gas and he draws land.
Game two he gets a fast draw to my not as fast one and does stupid things with Red and Green cards. I resolve my first Wererat (whoo!), which allows me to stabilize. That 5 butt can sometimes play good tricks against aggro it seems. I manage to win, but still end relatively low on life. Not that surprising, since Madness decks tend to have bad match-ups against RG Aggro.
1-0/2-0

Match two is against Tom, so I know this will not be easy, no matter what he decides to play. My opener is four land, a Winds, Keeper, Harvest. He leads with a Barren Moor, which tells me he is running 2Drop. His second turn play is Mountain, Wretched Anurid. Yeah, so I was right. I also know I am in for a tough match, as I designed 2Drop to destroy slower decks, and this deck is anything but fast. I then misclick playing Winds when I meant to drop a Pit Keeper. Yuck. Not that it would have mattered, as he burns me out and really just beats down.
At least in game two, I get to play! Right? I lead with Swamp, Imp, and come to the realization that I will rarely, if ever, want to play out a Treacherous Werewolf. I then go for my first pro-active Winds, and surprisingly (to me), it works as planned, and I draw into good stuff, including land number three. I manage to set up an early (turn three) Keeper chain, which is always key in defense against aggro decks. My turn five big Rat gets Terminated. After dropping to 11 life, I am able to stick an Imp with three Gorgers in hand. He counters my first Gorgers by sacrificing a Keldon Marauders. Next attack phase, facing down the Anurid and a Drooling Ogre, I discard out two Gorgers. But he has Brute Force for the Ogre, taking down my surprise blocker. As I can not play a creature that blocks, I die a quick death.
From this match, I learned that a highly aggressive deck probably will be the bane of my existence, and that sometimes going pro-active with Tolarian Winds is a good thing. I also am wary of the Werewolf. I also probably need better removal. But I have three more matches before I make any changes to the deck.
1-1/2-2

Treacherous Werewolf

Bad Dog!

Next up is Yakk372. He is running some sort of big mana Green/Blue with Cloudposts and Reap and Sows. I manage to draw Torturer this game, but do not see him being of any use. A Mountain indicates to me that he is running Torch as a kill card. Fun fun. I do manage to resolve a Probe game one, but I am surprisingly unimpressed by the card so far in this deck. He is running such stellar cards as Nourish. Yeah, Nourish. He goes for Torch and I have Rune Snag to answer it, with enough mana to counter it. He goes for another one and I sang it, only to have my Snag Snagged, leaving me on seven. I leave him with one turn to topdeck, but he does not; on to game two.
Game two I have a six card hand of four land, a Harvest, and a Winds. Time to put that active Winds idea into effect. I go for the Winds at the end of his second turn into a hand that is all gas, but no land. I cast my first Syphon-Mage, which looks like he might dominate this match-up as he is running no true removal aside from his kill condition, and this guy just nets me life. I manage to stick a Wererat and a Syphon-Mage, and go to town on his life total.
Although I drew him, I was not impressed with Cabal Torturer and Probe excites me less and less in this deck. Treacherous Werewolf, however, proved his worth against control decks this time.
2-1/4-2

Match four is against old timer Does 3 Damage, running his special, Mono-Black Aggro. Early feasts help me stay in, but he has triple Sangrophage. Using Winds aggressively, I am able to remove his Carrion Feeder and stabilize until I hit a fat Rat, and then I go on the attack. After that, he goes on the defensive and can not recover. Game two he gets a better Zombie based start, but I am able to wipe out his Blind Creeper with a combination of blocking and countermagic. D3D is going to town with his Shepherd of Rot, dropping me to a slightly lower life total than him, and wins on the back of the pseudo-burn. Game three I keep a 6 lander and a Winds, just to see what will happen. He gets a very good 1/1 Zombie draw including two Shepherds and I can not keep up.
2-2/5-4

Shepherd of Rot

Sometimes, it just is not fair.

Match five is against jlai47. There used to be a time where I could not beat him, but that was about a year ago. He tells me he is playing a “casual deck” and suspends a turn one Durkwood Baloth. I manage to get a nice curve draw with Looter and double Rat. He really can not hold a candle and we are on to game two. In that game, he just lays fat beasts and I really can not do a thing. I scoop after twice casting Winds, facing down two 5/5s and a 5/6. Game three I open with a strong curve draw with Imp and Looter. I draw into turn 3 Gorgers, facing down his empty board. I eventually stick a Syphon-Mage and he goes to town.
3-2/6-6

So what do these results tell me? Right now, with a winning record against potential tournament opponents (because even the casual deck played in match five has the potential to show up in an event), I feel that this is a good starting point to go from. Only a few cards in the initial build have disappointed me thus far. Most surprising among these cards is Probe. While nice, it always felt like a “win more” card. Also, I was having issues dealing with fat monsters. The Torturer did very little for me whereas the Syphon-Mage was always a house. Werewolf was great in some matches, awful in others, but Fat Rat was nearly always fantastic. The Winds were good, but four is probably too many. The Gorgers were also much better than expected, so going to four is probably the right move. There are also times in the late game where I wish I had some extra cards in hand.
So peoples, this is how the next stage is going to work. I am going to post an updated version of this deck, known as idoru.dec OR Fat Rat, but will not touch it for a few days. Rather, I want to read your forum posts and ideas about the deck. I will then do similar testing and try to incorporate your ideas if they fit with the deck. So, without any further ado, here is the current working (and untested) list for Fat Rat:

4 Dirty Wererat
4 Putrid Imp
3 Tolarian Winds
4 Brain Gorgers
2 Dark Withering
4 Feast of Flesh
1 Grim Harvest
4 Looter il-Kor
3 Pit Keeper
2 Think Twice
2 Urborg Syphon-Mage
4 Rune Snag
1 Barren Moor
2 Dimir Aqueduct
7 Island
1 Lonely Sandbar
8 Swamp
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Well folks, have at it!

And keep slingin' commons!

0 Comments

I love madness by Irgyn247 at Thu, 05/17/2007 - 02:04
Irgyn247's picture

Hi SpikeBoyM, i love your articles, PDC format is amazing. Creating cheap decks but competitive decks.
I like to play madness and one interesting card for this is Dreamscape Artist.

I enjoy and learn very much with your articles THANX.

by khirareq at Wed, 05/16/2007 - 12:38
khirareq's picture

A few things I wonder. Is feast of flesh the right call here? It seems out of place in this deck. If Urborg Syphon Mage is so good, why are there only two? How do I seperate lines of text in these comments? Good series; I'm looking forward to seeing it next week!

by coolbartbr (Unregistered) 71.162.240.247 (not verified) at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 19:14
coolbartbr (Unregistered) 71.162.240.247's picture

I think there is too much nonmadness cards in the deck to utilize all the discard. I think call to the netherworld sounds like a cool idea, maybe a couple rootwallas would work well with the discard aswell. I mean they will always be 1/1s but you still get them for free and a pseudo-cantrip off of winds.

First Batch by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 19:23
SpikeBoyM's picture

Regarding Deep Analysis: I considered it. However, I wanted instant speed draw and was also wary of the payment of life.
Regarding Call, I have tried it in other Madness decks and it was nearly always underwhelming. In almost every case Grim Harvest is just better as you can leave mana open to reuse it or discard it. Chucking a Call with no critters in the yard just strikes me as a poor choice. However, due to the high concentration of Black creatures here, it may be something to look at later.
Finally, with Rootwalla, I feel that there are far too many fragile creatures in this deck to include a 1/1. He will almost always come down too late for a 1/1 to matter.

Gorgers by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 15:54
SpikeBoyM's picture

I was not sold on the Gorgers initially. However, after playing with them, they proved to be very successful. Either I would have a 4/2 creature ready to attack on turn three, or I would be able to remove a pesky blocker. I do not think they belong in every deck, or even the final version of this one. However, as of now, they are performing very well in this particular deck, and will stay until testing proves otherwise.

by Gloinoin at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 15:55
Gloinoin's picture

Gorger is surprisingly effective, albiet vulnerable to removal, but a potential turn 2 4 power creature is nothing to sneeze at, plus in rare circumstances, its GOTG the removal (very very rare) I'd like to see deep analysis somewhere, possibly over think twice, its very solid CA and fits the theme nicely.

Call to the Netherworld by Evu at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 16:19
Evu's picture

I would seriously consider Call to the Netherworld. I know it seems like a bad card -- and normally it is -- but it can let you turn a profit on Tolarian Winds. Note that you can get back one of the other cards you're discarding, which also might help alleviate the problem you mentioned of not wanting Winds when your hand is good.

Interested to see how this deck develops.

by gnawph (Unregistered) 70.134.225.75 (not verified) at Tue, 05/15/2007 - 15:45
gnawph (Unregistered) 70.134.225.75's picture

I'm not sold on Brain Gorgers myself. A punisher mechanic like this plus all the inconsequential dorks in PDC just doesn't add up to me.

Cool article and concept. Would be better without the typos.