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By: dragonmage65, Nick Matthews
Aug 02 2007 9:44pm
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Welcome back to another edition of Think Tank!

I'd be willing to bet a handful of tickets that some of you have had a moment where you simply wanted to reach through your computer screen and violently throttle your opponent 'til he stopped breathing. Perhaps his deck belonged in the tournament room. Perhaps he played excruciatingly slow. Or perhaps his deck annoyed the hell out of you. This article will explore some combos that are certain to drive your opponents batty. Fair warning - if you don't like being put on people's blocked lists, don't try this at home!

No Vacancy

Future Sight brought a lot of new concepts and mechanics into play. It was definitely one of the more interesting sets printed in the last few years - probably because, in many respects, it's essentially a large spoiler list for sets to be printed in the distant future. Granted, though, the day Riggers begin assembling Contraptions will be the day I quit the game. No questions asked.

Of course, not all Future Sight cards are as bad as the widely-lambasted Steamflogger Boss (which foolish imbecile made that card a rare?). Cards like Tarmogoyf and Bridge from Below have all made a splash on the tournament scene, while cards like Rites of Flourishing have won praise from the casual crowd. And of course, there are plenty of new combos that have been opened up. For now, we'll concentrate on one particular card - Oriss, Samite Guardian.  











Oriss is unique in that it is legendary, but doesn't  limit you to one or even two copies, thanks to it's Grandeur ability. Grandeur is a new mechanic that allows you to discard a legendary creature to produce an effect. Five such cards were printed in Future Sight, but Oriss interests me the most. There's just something about a 50 cent rare giving you the same effect as a seventy-five dollar card that's attractive to me. The card I'm referring to, of course, is Orim's Chant, a card which is likely worth more than the entirety of my meager collection. In any event, Oriss allows you to discard it in order to stop your opponent from playing anything but lands and abilities, and also to bring a halt to any sort of attack.

Just as an advisory before I go any further, you've probably heard of the infamous Scepter Chant deck, which puts an Orim's Chant onto an Isochron Scepter for some stupid results. Granted, answers exist, but it's an extremely effective soft lock combo. But with playsets of Chant being in the $300 range, it's not affordable for many people. What I'll do here is try and replicate the same combo, but with cheaper cards.

To get the same effect, we'll have to recur Oriss, Samite Guardian to our hand every single turn. There are only a few ways of doing that. One card we could use is Undertaker. The problem I have with Undertaker is that we lose our draw every turn. Unless we played cards with Madness (at which point, the deck would simply become yet another Madness deck) or some form of card drawing (Howling Mine?), we would be in the exact same boat as our opponent. No, Undertaker is nice, but it won't work for us.

Oriss, Samite Guardian










Oversold Cemetery


The one card I like most here is Oversold Cemetery. It's cheap, reusable, and the requirement isn't too difficult to satisfy. The biggest issue with it is that you must have some way of getting at least three creatures into the graveyard. To this end, you can use Buried Alive. The nice thing about Buried Alive is that you can also search for a copy of Oriss, which you can return to your hand when you play Oversold Cemetery. Obviously, three plus zero does not equal four, so we'll need to add a few cheap filler creatures that can be sacrificed. Benevolent Bodyguard will work well for our purposes.

It's decks like these where I really start to hate the sixty-card optimum. I can already see that I'm fast running out of space - and I've barely even started. If you follow professional basketball and know of the New York Knicks' salary cap woes, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. Nevertheless, we continue.

The combo is great, but the only problem is that, like it's brethren, it's not a hard lock. There is a window of opportunity where your opponent can disrupt your combo with a spell - the period between your own upkeep (when Oriss's effect hits the bin) and before you resolve  her ability on your opponent's turn. I debated long and hard about splashing for a third color. The problem is, it wouldn't be a splash at all, since the card that enables the hard lock is Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. He would be an excellent addition to the deck...if it weren't for his rather dicey triple-blue mana cost. Besides, Teferi does nothing to stop creatures













from using their activated abilities. For that reason, I elected instead to add multiple levels of protection, such as the aforementioned Bodyguard and Rebuff the Wicked. For more permanent options, Lightning Greaves can also get the job done.

Now then, only a few spots remain for tutors. I would think that four copies of Diabolic Tutor are mandatory, unless Wizards did something stupid and reprinted Demonic Tutor. Three copies of Shred Memory can search of Oversold Cemetery or even Lightning Greaves, while three Dimir Machinations can search for Buried Alive or Oriss. Next we can add...hmm, how about absolutely nothing? It would seem that the deck is already maxed out, so we just have to add lands and we're set.





Oversold Guardians

 Lands (23)

4x Orzhov Basilica

7x Plains

8x Swamp

4x Terramorphic Expanse




Creatures (14):

4x Benevolent Bodyguard

4x Blood Pet

1x Glory

4x Oriss, Samite Guardian

1x Valor





Other (23):

4x Buried Alive

3x Dimir Machinations

4x Diabolic Tutor

3x Lightning Greaves

4x Oversold Cemetery

2x Rebuff the Wicked

3x Shred Memory


 Total: 60 cards
Sideboard - N/A


Legal in: Extended,
Classic, Freeform


Total Price: $28.75











But wait - how does the deck, um, win? The answer - you shouldn't have to. As soon as your opponent recognizes your combo, he should probably concede (assuming he has no answers). If he sticks it out the whole game but still loses, give him a cookie. He probably deserves it.

The Burning Season

There are three types of strategy that are the most likely to trigger a rather whiny outburst from an opponent - counterspells, discard spells, and land destruction. All three prevent your opponent from playing his cards, which some find to be unacceptable; and really, that's fine. Play what you want and ignore the whiners has always been my policy.

Once again, I must refer back to my disclaimer - if you don't want to end up on the wrong end of a blocklist, Think Twice about playing this deck.

One of the bigger problems with land destruction in particular is that there are usually only two viable strategies - use one-shot spells like Stone Rain, or use sweepers like Decree of Annihilation and Thoughts of Ruin. Both strategies have issues to contend with. If your deck simply contains one-shot land destruction, your opponent will undoubtedly have opportunities to get a least a few potshots off. If your deck is entirely devoted to pissing your opponent off in this spell-by-spell manner, a few potshots is all it takes to defeat you. With the global sweeper strategy, your lands aren't going to be any safer than your opponent's. In addition, your opponent may already be wiping the floor with you by the time you manage to accelerate into the more expensive spells.











So, then, which of the two strategies should we go with? We wouldn't go with the first one, for obvious reasons. If you don't understand those reasons, ask yourself, "Which part of the word "Combo" confuses me?", and then try again. The second strategy could possibly work, but I don't care. We're not using it, because we're using a third strategy - incorporate land destruction as a part of a deck dedicated entirely to pissing off a whole bunch of people.

Burning Sands is one of those cards people wish they could simply tear apart. Agonizing? Certainly. Effective? Not always. It works great against certain decks, and falls flat on its face against others. When used in conjunction with other cards, however, it becomes far more deadly.

One of those cards that combos with Burning Sands is Natural Affinity, which turns all lands into sock puppets for a turn. If you manage to throw some burn at one of those puppets, you get a chain reaction that sends all your opponent's lands to the bin. Great fun - at least, for you. Your opponent, on the other hand, likely won't be too happy with you. He may start insulting you. If he has truly poor taste, he may start insulting your mother. But if he really knows what he's doing, he'll copy-and-paste something off the awesome Random Insult Generator (RIG), which you can find it here: www.nk-news.net/extras/insult_generator.php.

Burning Sands










"You half-baked renegade!"

" You swollen-headed warmonger!"

" You anti-socialist bloodsucker, you have glaringly revealed your true colours!"

" You loudmouthed running dog!"

- Kim Jong il...allegedly







Tainted AEther

So we're trying to make people hate us - let's find some more cards that will actually do that. Scrolling down a list of doozers, I come up with the brilliantly-evil Tainted AEther. It fits in absolutely perfect with Burning Sands, given that your opponent essentially must sacrifice a land every time he or she plays a creature. But perhaps your opponent won't play his or her creatures...or perhaps he or she may need some, err, convincing.


Well, no, we can't do that - no CoC violations allowed, right?


What's that? The CoC doesn't explicitly ban torture?


Oh, you mean, Forbidden Orchard? Isn't that just a little bit inhumane?










Forbidden Orchard

Well, isn't being inhumane kind of the point? Sure it is! Hell, let's throw in AEther Flash for good (bad?) measure. Now, your opponent can't even use the tokens he gains, and he also has to sacrifice more of those beloved permanents of his. We can even use  Vesuvas and Sylvan Scryings  to fetch up and/or copy Forbidden Orchard, because each instance works its magic separately. This works great in multiplayer - assuming, of course, that you aren't completely dead by the time you manage to start the smacking.

Now that we've introduced a ridiculously-synergistic idea, it's time to put it all together into a deck. There's not much to do besides add a few filler cards and we're set.

Evil, I says, evil.

AEther Flash










Does it really need a name?

Lands (23):

4x Forbidden Orchard

4x Forest

6x Mountain

3x Swamp

4x Terramorphic Expanse

2x Vesuva

Creatures (0):


Other (37):

4x AEther Flash

4x Burning Sands

2x Golgari Signet

2x Gruul Signet

4x Natural Affinity

Other (cont.):

2x Rakdos Signet

4x Seal of Fire

4x Shock

4x Shower of Coals

3x Sylvan Scrying

4x Tainted AEther

Total: 60 cards
Sideboard: N/A


Legal in: Extended,
Classic, Freeform


Total Price: $19.54










Well, that's just about all for today's issue. I hope you enjoy making your opponent(s) absolutely miserable. If you don't derive any sort of sick, twisted pleasure from your enemy's suffering, either you're an alien from outer space or you need to have your brain checked for anomalies. Come on now!

So then, until next time, good luck, and have fun!

- dragonmage65



by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 08/07/2007 - 18:45
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I really don't get why anyone would take offense to this. The cards exist in the game to be played. It doesn't even really matter if ones intent when building decks such as these is to infuriate your opponent. Would it be any different if the intent was to make them happy? No, not really, the deck is the same. I agree with dragonmage's rebuttle that nasty decks are most definately seperate from poor sportsmanship. Sure these kinds of decks may not be fun to play against, but they are part of the game, and if the player who created the deck is having fun, then that is all that should matter.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 08/08/2007 - 21:25
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I thought it was fun.  I like making people mad too though..........

Interesting read. by MountainProud (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 08/06/2007 - 10:37
MountainProud (Unregistered)'s picture

I liked the article.  Occasionally, I just get evil and go on a rampage killing things and building hate decks.  I can't help it, it's how I get my jollies...some days.

No Censorship by mtgotraders at Mon, 08/06/2007 - 11:55
mtgotraders's picture

PureMTGO allows any topic as long as there is no cussing or mindless bashing.  As long as an article is fun to read I am going to post it and I will continue to operate the site this way and i'm sorry some of you do not like this.  I want to give you all the freedom to write about whatever you want and if you want censored articles we all know where to get them from.  Just because I post an article does not mean I agree with the topic.  I hope you all understand the stance that I have taken on this and i'll be more than happy to chat with anyone about it in further detail if they would like.

Article by maxiewawa (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 08/06/2007 - 07:46
maxiewawa (Unregistered)'s picture

I loved it. Good work! I don't care that your scathing wit didn't come through. - I get it ;)

Meh.... by runeliger at Sun, 08/05/2007 - 14:48
runeliger's picture

Not really addressing the core of the article itself, I'm going to speak specifically on writing. Please take no offense, for I too have similar problems with my writing (which is why I've taken a long haitus as I develop my writing style).

The Main problem with your writing as of now is that although it articulates ideas, it fails to provide a strong voice. A good example of a voice would be Tim Aten's writings (or rantings if you would call them), as well as Osyp's writings. They both have a specific type of voice in their writing that allows them to write funny satirical pieces for the world to enjoy. That said, I feel that your take on satire (as you have claimed that is what this piece is), is lacking at best. If memory serves, satire writing is considered one of the hardest forms of writing because of the issue of stance and voice. Your voice within the piece does at times seem more childish versus attempting to make people laugh.

That said, a voice is something you develop overtime, and thus best of luck in developing one.

Oh also, annoying decks with a pointless win condition is fine, but one with no win condition is a bit annoying, but hey there are Daves in this world.... (If nobody gets that reference *sighs)



by Stu Benedict at Sat, 08/04/2007 - 23:44
Stu Benedict's picture

Write what you want and ignore the complaints.

I can't believe these people take offense to this, ha.

Creating hate decks can be fun. I have a prismatic hate deck that has about 32 different ways to stifle fetchlands. That is fun.

I have decks that intentionally are horrible and I plan to lose. Is that wrong? Using polymorph on an activated blinkmoth nexus to reveal my only creature in the deck, chimney imp and then giving the sad face : (  is entertaining to me. 

We pay our money to play the game. If it isn't against the CoC, others should have no say in how you choose to have fun. 

My thoughts on this article... by hk3family at Sat, 08/04/2007 - 03:57
hk3family's picture

There IS a win-condition with the first deck... just have to "beat" for one a turn.

Dragonmage65: I have always valued your input, your play ability, and your willingness to give/participate heavily in the community. This said, I do feel this is damaging to your "face" in the community; an interesting read, but I do not feel that this topic should have been approached from this side of things. But, rather, from the opposite side, on proper etiquitte.

Still your online friend, no hostile feelings toward you, but I do feel that this article has damaged a lot that you have worked for, and it would probably be in the best interest of this site, and MTGOTRADERS as a whole to remove this article and for Heath or a MTGOTRADERS component, therein, to respond to this, in the public eye; even if removing it doesn't take place. It puts a bad taste in people's mouths (especially newcomers who are interested in what PUREMTGO is about to have this type of thing posted (moreso that it's on the front page).

Casual, I agree, is about ANY deck being played (even Dragonstorm, 'Tog, Friggorid, etc.). But, to deliberatly step on peoples toes is not casual, That really does hurt the image of MTGO as a whole, and is quite damaging (in my opinion) to us (PUREMTGO).

Just my $1.83 (due to taxes and inflation),

~HK3Family // UnusVirUnusCalx~ 

by dragonmage65 at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 16:40
dragonmage65's picture

"Having NO win condition in the hopes that a player quits out of frustration is truely low."

Mark Gottlieb once did the same thing on the official site in one of his articles. His used a deck with a Isochron Scepter/Metamorphose combo for a soft lock, with no win condition. "It's a little thrill as you pull off the con—and it's a brilliant, subversive deck concept."

That was published on the official site, not a player-run one like this one. There weren't any calls for a retraction, there were calls for a correction (because the deck *DID* in fact have a subtle win condition the author did not catch).

Again, if you took offense to the article, I apologize, but I am not going to censure myself, nor am I going to continue to defend myself beyond this. Make what you want to make of it. 

- Nick 

Ok.... by Dreager_Ex at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 07:47
Dreager_Ex's picture

Maybe I did look a little too much into it but even in a satirical manner I can't stand something that purposefully makes the game unfun. If that is a soul purpose for a deck I think it shouldn't be built =/ just my opinion

Ticked off by tempesteye at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 10:02
tempesteye's picture

I run a deck I call Tainted World.

It's a nice FCC (five card combo) that uses Night of Souls's Betrayel, Forbidden Orchard, Tainted Æther, Burning Sands and Crucible of Worlds. Same concept, higher mana curve. I also use Guiltfeeder as a finisher. It's a good concept but very, very slow and it takes forever to set up.

I also occasionally run a Mono White prision variant that uses Static Orb, Orb of Dreams and Lodestone Myr with Hokori as a backup. That'll also get you blocked quite often.

 Good article, but could have covered some of the less explored terratory like milling, or things like Timesifter.

heh by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 14:40
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I would have to concur with the sentiments that a article like this and its content is in bad taste.

It is juvenille and promotes ill will among players. Granted the mechanics are in the game, but the tone whether posted in jest or with some level of sarcasm is none the less sickening to read. I find it in poor taste to write an article, and even have it posted on this site, obviously meant to cause player anomosity in poor taste. It pokes fun at the CoC prodding that you can bend the rules to harass you opponents by playing a deck meant to frustrate ones opponents. Having NO win condition in the hopes that a player quits out of frustration is truely low.


I for one would hope that this article is retracted immediately.

by pointy56 at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 01:14
pointy56's picture

Hmm... the over abundance of white spaces is distracting in my opinion. The first deck was refreshing, but I have seen the second decks many times before.

Thoroughly Sickened by Dreager_Ex at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 02:06
Dreager_Ex's picture

Looking aside from the writing which is ok not great...

Im very disappointed that this article would even get posted... Such a deliberate attempt to promote bad sportsmanship is just astonishing this is a card game if you really get upset with what someone does on this game you need to quit and grow up. Building a deck should be about you having fun the fact that these decks aim to make people mad astonishes me.

I don't know, the sort of person that would willingly do this sort of thing disturbs me and I frankly don't wanna be associated with them... not matter how absurd the reason for it is. It takes a huge leap back for mankind to just accept this sort of behavior.

Just my 2 cents.

by dragonmage65 at Fri, 08/03/2007 - 03:11
dragonmage65's picture


Much of the article is written in a rather satirical tone. Perhaps it wasn't as obvious as I thought; if that is the case then I sincerely apologize. But my point is, any remarks that you may have perceived as being offensive were entirely intended on my part to be harmless, slapstick comedy. Exaggeration is in abundance.

In any event, I don't equate poor sportsmanship with playing decks that are "mean". I would equate poor sportsmanship with bombarding your opponent with trade requests during a tournament, or just leaving the game hanging because you are losing. 

The decks in this article are by no means perfect. They are vulnerable to disruption, as all combos are. Certainly, they are not unbeatable. Simply put, they are no different than any other of my creations; they just happen to center around a diffrerent style of play (resource deprivation). Playing these types of decks is not poor sportsmanship, it is simply one of literally thousands of avenues of play.

Again, if the satire did not stand out to you, I apologize, and it's probably my fault. Please understand that I do not support poor sportsmanship at any level of play, in any game or sport. 

I welcome your comments, positive or otherwise.

- Nick 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 08/02/2007 - 22:21
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Just on that first deck, I've tried making Oversold Cemetary decks before, and I think tha tyou don't have nearly enough creatures to cause the effect to trigger at all consistently.