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By: Hollow0n3, Jan Zemlin
Sep 14 2007 7:56am
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Gate Hound X

Welcome to yet another installment of my irregular article series. Let's just say that I didn't really plan to be absent that long. Unfortunally life is interfering a lot and I was and still am, pretty exhausted.

Remember the poll from last time? The one that was supossed to give me hints about the prefered formats of my readers? Well...It turned out that some people want only Standard.  Some want Standard and Extended.  Of course, others want only Extended.  Most people just want me use whatever I like; so I'll stick to that for now.

Today's deck is a petdeck of mine, the first version was built when I got bored and checked my collection for something silly to build a deck around. Ravnica was still new back then and I found myself looking at Gate Hound. It seemed awful. Everyone said it was awful.  It had to be awful right? 

Now, I'm going to give you three guesses to what card I built my new deck around.  Yeah, the first two guesses don't count.  It should be pretty clear, at least by now, that I decided Gate Hound needed to see some love.  

I wrote a blog entry about that first version back then, but for germagic.(Editor's Note:  germagic is one of my favorite websites on the web.  Sadly, it is German language only, but there are literally hundreds of decks there, in an easy to search database.  I can not tell you how many off the wall decks I found this past season off of this website alone!)
That's one of the bigger german magicwebsites. Click
here if you want to look at it.

Oh, that was almost two years ago... well I told you folks that it's a pet deck.

I still fondly remember one match that I played with the deck, a buddy wanted to battle his new Classic deck against someone and I offered to play him with it, he accepted. I guess I don't need to mention who won that match, he still seems to twitch a little every time I mention that match.  I wonder why?

Anyway, time to show you the new version, let's take a look.

STD Gate Hound X

20 Lands:

20 Plains

20 Creatues:

4 Suntail Hawk
4 Veteran Armorer
4 Mistral Charger
4 Freewind Equenaut
4 Gate Hound


20 other Spells:

4 Condemn
4 Kjeldoran War Cry
4 Holy Strength
4 Spirit Loop
4 Guardian's Magemark

Yes, it's running on only twenty lands but it works. Most of you will already know how the hound works, but some might not.  He really wants to be enchanted, he rewards your whole team with the blessing of Vigilance if you do it. How? I guess he barks a lot. Or something.  I'm not really sure how a dog could instill Vigilance upon an entire party.  

The goal is simply to put
Holy Strength on him and than put Magemark on another creature. Previous versions used Conclave Equenaut to make more out of the Vigilance. It got replaced with Freewind Equenaut since it's also better with Vigilance and easier to cast.

Just play this deck like a white weenie and you will be fine, just don't forget that the
Kjeldoran War Cry counts the War Cry in all graveyards. Even if you are the only one using it, it can easily surprise your opponent and win you the game. Especially when you are able to cast two or more in one turn.

How about mulligans? You will want to have two to three lands and a hawk and hopefully an Armorer and a Charger. Just keep in mind that this is a weenie deck and that you really really want to play creatures in your first three turns.

Also, don't forget that
Condemn is the only removal you got, don't waste it!  When I play the deck I always try to keep the mana for it open.  Condemn can really be a blow out against some unprepared opponents. 

Now some ideas for people that want to tinker with the hound. I already mentioned
Conclave Equenaut, you can easily stuff it back into the deck. Castle Raptors is an option, too. The only problem would be the mana cost, but one can always try to up the land count somehow. For more common ideas you might want to read till the end of the article.

How about uncommons?
Duskrider Peregrine or Celestial Crusader would be options. Of course there is always Stonecloaker but do we really want him in a deck that uses so many auras?  I do not think that we do.  Using Stonecloaker in a deck with some many auras basically asks us to lose card advantage.  I don't think that I need to mention Griffin Guide or Serra's Embrace.

Rares offer something too. Do I need to mention the
Pariah and Cho-Manno, Revolutionary combo? I guess it is a must, since almost everyone writing about casual white decks already did it. It's so obvious that it's in a theme deck!  We also have another crowd favourite that fits in this deck, and it is also popular with writers. I wonder why no one else wrote about the hound?  The card I had on my mind is of course Daybreak Coronet.  Daybreak Coronet is fundamentally a horrible card, however, if it sticks on a creature the game is usually over quickly.  

I played some games in the casual room with the deck, and I want to show you all how I did.  I got a few interesting numbers here, so hopefully you all will be surprised with how Gate Hound can be useful in play! 

Gate Hound
Daybreak Coronet

I crown you, Pik.... ehm... nevermind, wrong game.


I was in the casual room, this past Monday just before Master's Edition hit the store. This should result in some interessting games right? I opened a table and soon my first opponent joined me.

Game 1 vs. Drenthe (WG Core set)

I lost the dieroll and he decided to go first. My hand is a bit risky: Two Plains, Holy Strength, Two Kjeldoran War Cry, Condemn and Freewind Equenaut. I decide to keep even without the centerpeice here, and hope for the best!

He drops a Forest and passes with out playing anything.  

I draw
Suntail Hawk, and slap it onto the table.

His next play is on his third turn, with an 
Overgrowth on his second Plains.

I play my equenaut, thats about it. So far, I've only drawn lands off the top of my deck.
He plays
Elven Riders with the help of his overgrown plains.

I draw a second
Holy Strength, well, a creature would help. We chat a little and he reveals himself as a fairly new player. He gives me permission to mention the game and his name, not everyone responds to that question. Seems he didn't know about PureMTGO, but he says that he will look arround for us. Hi there Drenthe!

His next play involves a
Llanowar Sentinel for two more copies plus a Llanowar Elves. He also attacks me with his Riders, and brings me to seventeen life.  I have him beat so far, as my Hawk has knocked him down to fifeteen over the course of the game.

I draw
Spirit Loop, enchant my equenaut and attack, I only have 4 lands and begin to fear that it will take a lot of time until I see another creature.

He plays
Primal Rage and Loxodon Mystic, then attacks with everyone. I throw my Condemn at his riders. 14 me, 15 him.

I draw another
Condemn, things don't look very good for me now. His mystic can't tap yet, so I attack and cast a Kjeldoran War Cry, keeping mana open for my instant removal.

He plays a
Wall of Swords, well, so much for my hawk getting in there.

I finally draw another creature,
Veteran Armorer, and play him. As expected, he taps my equenaut with his mystic before my declare attackers-phase begins. I still have four lands in play.  Maybe, just maybe I need to add more.  

He plays
Stalking Tiger and attacks with the sentinels and the elves. 7 me, 10 him.

I get a plains, and smack a strength on my hawk. I'd have prefered my
Gate Hound as a target for that one, but, it's hiding.  I guess this dog is afraid of giant Green and White creatures.  He taps my equenaut, who would have guessed that?

He puts
Heart of Light on my hawk and the armorer and attacks me for lethal, I still have my Condemn in my hand, but I didn't bother to cast it. He was just way too much ahead, creaturewise, and I decided that I could not keep up with him. 

Lessons learned here? I can't deal with other players enchantments, and I really should try to have three creatures in my opening hand.

Game 2 vs. Solharvester (WB Debtors' Kneel Control)

He wins the dieroll, and decides to go last. He mulls to six. I have two Plains, two Gate Hound, Freewind Equenaut, Condemn and Kjeldoran War Cry. I put a plains down and pass, hoping for the best.

He does the same, but also suspends
Lotus Bloom on top of the plains.

I draw a
Suntail Hawk and play him with my newly deployed plains.

I draw an armorer and play him. My third land fianlly appears on turn five. Yuck.

His Lotus unsuspended and he used it to play
Phyrexian Rager.

I get my hound into play and next turn enchant it with the Holy Strength and attack, he blocks, I use the war cry and get rid of his rager which tried to block the armorer.

He plays
Damnation;  Oops.  

We trade creatures a little while and I have him down to 9, but then he finds a
Beacon of Immortality.  It certainly seems like it will be a long game.  

A little later his
Angel of Despair kills my 4th plains. This is not good news for me as I only have sixteen left in the deck.

His turn 11
Debtors' Kneel pretty much seals the game, since he got a lot of options to chose from, like the rager, Necrotic Sliver and Graveborn Muse.

I manage to stay alive till his 17th turn, but his
Angelic Chorus made it impossible for me to squezze in enough damage to try a race. After the game he shows my a hand with 2 Wrath of God, another Damnation and another Kneel.

We chat a bit and have a nice conversation about his deck, he just recently got into MTGO after a long absence from paper magic and I try to help him a little. Unfortunally the server wants to go down and cuts our time short since I have to write this down before the replay goes to the digital nirvana. I wish we could save those.

Here we learned several things, I can't deal with reanimation and massive lifegain. But I guess that was obvious form the start since I am running a
Gate Hound based WW deck.

What I really learned in this pretty long game is: the timer might have been lower for him, but the now pre-selected timed games are not interfering with most decks. We are down now, so the next game would have to wait until Master's Edition  was in the system.  I think I will try to play a classic game and hope to run into something interesting. 

Well, it thuesday now. What happend? The downtime was longer then expected, and I didn't have the energy to to play and write about it with all the Master's Edition release craze going on.

No, I didn't buy anything so far. Budget player here, remember? Well, I'll try to get a classic game now, let's see what they got.

Game 3 vs. boomslang (WU (Forcefield) -Control)

He wins the dieroll, and decides to play rather then draw. I get a tempting hand of three plains, two Guardian's Magemark, Gate Hound and Freewind Equenaut. Since I am on the draw I hold onto that.

He plays a 10th
Adarkar Wastes and passes. First time I see a blackborderd one, looks nice.

I draw a plains, play one and pass.

He plays a plains of his own and passes again. I begin to suspect a bad draw or control.

I get a
Veteran Armorer, and play him with the help of a second plains.

He plays
Telling Time with pain mana, and drops Azorius Chancery, then returns the plains. I guess he really was a little manascrewed.

I draw
Spirit Loop, put down a plains and play my hound after my armorer attacked.

He replays the plains, and casts Forcefield, not using the colorless mana from the painland. I guess he wants to use that to activate the field.

I play my plains, and cast my magemark, targeting the hound. I attack and he aims
Condemn at my hound. Oh well, at least my armorer is untapped since he had vigilance when the attack was declared.

He plays
Diamond Valley and passes.

I draw another armorer, this should help. I put the plains down and attack. He activates his field. I try to cast my 2nd armorer but he got
Arcane Denial. At least is was not a total loss. I cast my Freewind Equenaut, and he made it onto the table safely.

I drew two cards from the denial,
Condemn and Gate Hound. He plays Hallowed Fountain and then casts Wrath of God. So much for my creatures.
I draw
Kjeldoran War Cry, I am missing my creatures now.  I cast my hound and enchanted him with Spirit Loop.

He got an island and
Serra Avenger.
I draw another
Condemn and pass.

He got an island and attacks. I try to get rid of the avenger with my condemn but he had
Counterspell for the first one, and Boomerang to save it from my second one. After all the dust settled he just cast her again.

I draw another
Freewind Equenaut and cast it.

He got another
Adarkar Wastes.

I draw another
Spirit Loop and cast it onto my equenaut. I try to attack and get him to block, sadly he drew into another Condemn. D'oh!  I guess I am not the only one who tends to draw those.

He just attacks me.

I draw a plains and put it down, nothing else.

We do that for two more turns before I decide the hound needs to be marked. He got another

Five turns later I try to enchant the hound with
Holy Strength, I don't really have any other options left. He hardcasts Force of Will. That's the first one I see played, and on top of that it was hardcast to counter Holy Strength. Cool, huh? I liked it.

(Editor's Note:  I have played Magic since 1994.  I have never saw Force of Will cast in response to Holy Stength.)  

He finally gets another creature and casts it, it's
Serendib Efreet.

I draw another loop, I wonder if someone secretly replaced my creatures.
Out of depseration I enchant my hound with all three loops and attack, hoping that I can cast my double war cry to take out a creature or survive another turn. I don't really have a chance. He activates the
Forcefield instead of blocking. That buys me another turn, but that is it.  I lose to his team shortly there after.  

Three lost games, in a row.  Thats not how it normally goes. I had a really unlucky draw in combination with tough matchups. I guess I will try another Classic and see how it goes from there. 

Game 4 vs. (name withheld) (UB Sutured Ghoul-Reanimator)

He wins the dieroll, and chose to play first. I have a pretty bad hand with only one land. Muligan it is then. I keep a hand of: three Plains, Veteran Armorer, Gate Hound and Condemn.

He goes:
Polluted Delta, search Watery Grave, pays the life and casts Sleight of Hand.

I draw
Spirit Loop and put down a plains, rather unimpressive compared to his turn.

He does a little more again,
Underground River, Mystical Tutor for Buried Alive. I think I have a little problem. I just hope that he will try something that I can get rid of with my Condemn.

I draw a magemark, put another plains down and play my armorer. I should look pretty innocent now.

He does the delta to grave thing again and casts Buried Alive, placing two
Krosan Cloudscraper and a Sutured Ghoul in his graveyard. I think I have a chance.

I draw another plains, put it down and enchant my armorer with the
Spirit Loop, to keep mana open for my trick, I guess he thinks that I am an easy win. I also attacked.

He puts
Gemstone Mine into play, casts Shallow Grave, targetting his ghoul. The ghoul comes into play and he removes the scrapers, resulting in a 26/26 hasty and trampling ghoul. He can't handle my Condemn and the ghoul says buh-bye. Yay! However, he got another Mystical Tutor for another Buried Alive. I honestly think that I am finished at this point.

I draw another
Gate Hound. A plains later he is sitting on the table. I am pretty sure that my opponent thinks that I am a total noob now. I also attacked, me 24, him 36.

He plays his
Buried Alive and puts the ghoul and another double scraper into his yard.

I draw my 2nd
Condemn. Yes, I am pretty thrilled about that.  I enchant the hound with the mark and attack. Me: 27, Him: 31.

He brings the ghoul back with
Necromancy. I get another turn.

I draw
Mistral Charger and play it. No attack, not into that ghoul.  That would just be silly! 

He brings another
Underground River and attacks. A declare attackers-phase and a Condemn later I have won. Uh, how? He gave up. Well, at least I got my Gate Hound-trick online this time. He left before I could ask him to allow me to mention his name, so I won't.

Also I had a feeling that I might become blocked when I messaged him and asked if he minds me writing about this.

Overall, I had some fairly unimpressive games here, but I faced some interesting decks and actually managed a win in the end, so I don't mind. Maybe I should have taken mulligans more aggressivly, but I try to keep that to a minimum in casual since people also concede when you mull to often. Yes, that happend a few times when I was really playing casual to relax.

Now something more fun, a PDC version of the deck, casual of course. I guess it could be more powerful simply because of 
Knight of Sursi.

STD Gate Hound X PDC
20 Lands:
20 Creatures:
Suntail Hawk
 4 Knight of Sursi
 4 Veteran Armorer
 4 Freewind Equenaut
 4 Gate Hound
20 other spells:
Gift of Granite
 4 Holy Strength
 4 Guardian's Magemark
 4 Dawn Charm
 4 Kjeldoran War Cry

If you just want to give the hound some playtime, relax yourself or just want to see the reactions of people that lose to the hound, this will do. You might find yourself wanting to try the somewhat different version with the uncommons. The playstyle is about the same, it is just that some cards got swapped for others and that the Knight of Sursi is playing the role of the additional semi-onedrop.

That's it for this time. I hope you folks enjoyed reading about me getting the beating. Depending on my luck I might have a classic tribal deck next time, or just an evil kitty.

(Editor's Note:  I vote for the Evil Cat!)

Oh, and i you noticed some differences to previous articles, that's thanks to two new factors, the first one is our new editor. He might say something when he is not feeling shy. The second one is a problem with the article system. It didn't recognice my nicely formated hmtl, like it did previously, which forced me to use the build-in editor to fix it. An editor which is supposed to work best with IE. Yes, I use Firefox.

I'll spare you a witty closing sentence with unclear hints at several things. Be thankful.

Until next time,
 - yours


Well... by Hollow0n3 at Tue, 09/18/2007 - 05:51
Hollow0n3's picture

Any reasson why it didn't work for you? Constuctive critique is better then saying something sucks.

Plus, If you had actually tried to read the article.. it's build arround a supposed to be bad card on purpose.

Oh, and maybe you want to actually use a nickname next time, not that I mind knowing your IP.  

by (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 09/17/2007 - 18:47
 (Unregistered)'s picture

I think some pdc decks are actually better than non-pdc ones, but both of your versions sucked. A LOT.

by Dreager_Ex at Sun, 09/16/2007 - 15:45
Dreager_Ex's picture

my bad lol

Uhm... by Hollow0n3 at Sun, 09/16/2007 - 15:41
Hollow0n3's picture

Right above the deck... I said it's a casual version, I'd build something different for a tournament. ^_^'

by Dreager_Ex at Sun, 09/16/2007 - 10:22
Dreager_Ex's picture

Im not so sure about the PDC deck I mean you left out a couple of Original White Staples (IE: Fetters, Guardian of the Guildpact)

FlameOblivion's picture
by Hollow0n3 at Sat, 09/15/2007 - 02:39
Hollow0n3's picture

Uhm, thanks.

It's nice when people enjoy my decks.