Rob Rogers's picture
By: Rob Rogers, Rob Rogers
Oct 02 2007 12:45pm
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A little about me
I'm a casual player. I've played in a tournament or two, but I'm in this for fun, and Magic gives me the most entertainment when I'm playing with some crazy fun creatures or pulling off some oddball combos. Success for me isn't so much winning the game (although that's nice) as it is seeing something wacky or amusing happen. The couple of occasions where I've pulled something off just right and had an opponent type "OMG" (for "oh, my god!") have been Magic highlights for me.

I've dropped a number of dollars on online cards from time to time (a lot of them at MTGO Traders!), but I'm the type who's much less likely to plunk down 21 tickets on Tarmogoyf and much more likely to spend those tickets on a few dozen commons, uncommons, and junk rares in hopes of completing some odd deck type (like my Kavu Predator/Wall of Shards/Fiery Justice deck). In the odd nomenclature Wizards has adopted to describe player types, I'm a Timmy/Johnny.

Nacatl War-Pride
Playing with Nacatl War-Pride

I thought I'd take a stab at writing an article or two geared toward other players like me. One of the cards that's captured my interest lately is Nacatl War-Pride. At this writing, it's selling for a mere .15 tickets on MTGO Traders, a bargain for the fun and game impact it can have.

On the plus side, Nacatl War-Pride can swing games big time. It occupies all of your opponent's blockers, hitting them with a whole line of 3/3 creature tokens while letting any of your other creatures through unmolested. And if any of your opponent's creatures are tapped, then that can add up to a lot of extra damage.

But it has two big negatives. It's got a relatively heavy casting cost (6 mana total, three of them green). And it's fragile. One Sudden Death or Incinerate or even Volcanic Hammer and it's time to say goodbye your expensive (in mana terms) cat warriors. That three toughness also means that even if it survives its first attack, it's not likely to make a second one.

But this is why deck-building is fun:  It's fun to find interesting ways to work around the weaknesses of your key cards.

In this article and my next one (if this first one is received well) I'm going to look at two decks I built around the Nacatl War-Pride, each of which deals with the cards vices and virtues in a different way. Both of these decks are Standard-legal. I'll warn you right away that they're not tournament-worthy. With each I've won about half the games I've played in the Casual room. But they're fun to play. For each I'll also discuss a few options you might consider for alternate versions--either more expensive options for the decks or else options for other formats. I'll start with the Red/Green version this time around. If you like it, I'll write up an article on my Black/Green deck.

Most of the combinations discussed in this article aren't especially original--I've been tipped off to them by articles I've read elsewhere. But the final result is my own, as are the impressions below, and I've tinkered with the deck enough that I think I can discuss it fairly and in an original way without stepping on the toes of others who have written about the card.

Deck One: Nacatl Warriors (Standard Red/Green)
Handling the mana
The first deck approaches the challenge of making Nacatl War-Pride work from a couple of different angles. The first is mana cost. It's an expensive card to get out, so you need plenty of mana available and you need to make sure it's the right color. To address this, I've put in five mana-producing creatures: four copies of Llanowar Elves and a single copy of Radha, Heir to Keld. Why only one Radha? Mainly because I've got only one copy and didn't feel like adding more for this deck. In addition, of course, she's a Legendary creature, so I wouldn't necessarily want to have two of her in hand at once. She's a nice addition in the early game, and is a Warrior, which is helpful (as you'll see below), but not essential. I've also included four copies of Terramorphic Expanse to smooth the mana draws and thin the deck. It's just a great card. There are also four copies of Gruul Signet and another couple of options I'll discuss below. The mana is still a bit tricky, especially since I have some other cards in the same expensive mana range as the Nacatl War-Pride, but it's not terrible for the casual room.

Lovisa ColdeyesGetting the Warrior advantage
The next limitation to deal with is the Nacatl War-Pride's fragility. At 3/3, it's vulnerable to a host of instants and it doesn't have Haste, so it's going to sit there like a big target for your opponent's whole turn before you get a chance to attack with it. It needs two things to give it an edge: more power and more speed. Fortunately, there's one card that can give it both. In addition to being a Cat, the Nacatl War-Pride has the virtue of being a Warrior. That means that it combines extraordinarily well with Lovisa Coldeyes. This frosty barbarian lord will give the Nacatl War-Pride (and its tokens) Haste and +2/+2. That's a significant advantage. I've got two copies of Lovisa Coldeyes, but if I owned more, I would be inclined to find room for two more--although she's Legendary, she makes a huge impact when you can play her and you want to be able to play her consistently. In addition to her, I've put in some additional cards that serve similar functions: Primal Forcemage, which helps protect the Nacatl War-Pride when it first enters play and also makes the tokens extra devastating, and Emblem of the Warmind, which can help you out by giving all of your creatures Haste.

Centaur OmenreaderExtra tech
I've included three copies of Centaur Omenreader and four copies of Utopia Vow. These work together extremely well. When you enchant one of your own centaurs with the Utopia Vow, you can tap it for one mana of any color while simultaneuously reducing the casting cost of your creatures by two colorless mana. It also works well as low-key removal when enchanting your opponent's creatures. In a lot of cases, you'd rather have an opponent's creature immobilized rather than dead because an immobilized creatuer will add to the number of token creatures that the Nacatl War-Pride will produce when attacking.

Additional cards include Shielding Plax, which can help protect key creatures such as the Nacatl War-Pride, Lovisa Coldeyes, and Primal Forcemage, and also helps you to draw your other key cards; Keldon Marauders, which works nicely early in the game and also works well with Lovisa Coldeyes; Boldwyr Intimidator, which is a tank that can help your Nacatl War-Pride tokens get through; and a single Relentless Assault. If your tokens have Haste (either due to Lovisa Coldeyes or Emblem of the Warmind), then Relentless Assault lets any surviving tokens attack a second time. That's too many "if"s to count on, but worth a copy just fur fun.

The cards have nice synergy; even if you don't end up drawing Nacatl War-Pride, you've got enough going for you to win games.

I don't have anything too fancy in terms of land here--mostly just what I happen to own. Substitute your favorite red/green options. Pendelhaven is handy to protect the Llanowar Elves and Ghitu Encampment is a Warrior, meaning it works well with Lovisa Coldeyes.

The deck list
I've included the full list below.

Nacatl Warriors (Standard), submitted by Rob Rogers

Creatures: 24
2 x Boldwyr Intimidator
3 x Centaur Omenreader
4 x Keldon Marauders
4 x Llanowar Elves
2 x Lovisa Coldeyes
4 x Nacatl War-Pride
4 x Primal Forcemage
1 x Radha, Heir to Keld

Other Spells: 14
1 x Emblem of the Warmind
4 x Gruul Signet
1 x Relentless Assault
4 x Shielding Plax
4 x Utopia Vow

Land: 22
9 x Forest
4 x Mountain
1 x Fungal Reaches
1 x Grove of the Burnwillows
1 x Ghitu Encampment
4 x Terramorphic Expanse

As I mentioned, this deck is really intended for casual play, so the sideboard will generally be a nonissue. But I'd consider some spot removal like Incinerate, Sudden Shock, or Rift Bolt; some global removal like Pyroclasm or Savage Twister; anti-flying spells like Elvish Skysweeper, Hurricane, and Squall Line. For artifact removal, you should consider the one-two punch of Ancient Grudge or (Tin-Street Hooligan).

Adding money
There are some more expensive options that could make this deck more competitive. Certainly, you could improve the land base by replacing some of the lands with copies of Karplusan Forest or Stomping Ground. You could also replace the Llanowar Elves with Birds of Paradise. I'm sure I'm missing some other opportunities here. Doubling Season is expensive in terms of mana and tickets, but it can make the Nacatl War-Pride go absolutely nuts. And I'd likely find room for two more copies of Lovise Coldeyes.

Going for Tribal Wars
As it stands, this deck won't work for Tribal Wars. It has 11 Warrior cards and needs 20. Other Warriors to consider for Tribal Wars Standard include more copies of Radha, Heir to Keld; Elvish Skysweeper (which is cheap and helps you to deal with flying creatures, something this deck is weak against); Boreal Centaur (also cheap--you'd want to add some snow-covered lands to allow you to pump it up reliably); Civic Wayfinder (which can help smooth your mana); Hunted Troll, (which gives your opponent more tokens to trigger more Nacatl War-Pride tokens); and Gathan Raiders (an all-around strong card). You can also go with a Cat Warrior theme, including Mirri, Cat Warrior, Arctic Nishoba, and Jedit Ojanen of Efrava (another token maker).

Going Extended
If you'd like to play an Extended version of this deck, there are lots of additional options. I'd particularly consider looking at useful Warrior cards that combine well with Lovisa Coldeyes and the Boldwyr Intimidator. Until 10th Edition rotated in, I played with Viashino Sandstalker and that was very effective, combining well both of the cards I just mentioned as well as the Primal Forcemage. With just one Lovisa and one Forcemage in play, the Viashino Sandstalker would hit the table at 9/7. Youch.

What to do when Lorwyn hits
I don't like to read set spoilers, so the only Lorwyn cards I'm familiar with are the ones that have been spoiled on I feel confident that there will be some fun cards to add to this deck. The only cards that the deck will really lose once Lorwyn hits are the copies of Shielding Plax and Gruul Signet. Assuming that there aren't any direct, obvious alternatives to these in Lorwyn, you might want to consider replacing the copies of Plax with Aspect of Mongoose or maybe Harmonize. The signets can be replaced with new mana fixers from Lorwyn or with Prismatic Lens. In a pinch, Gemhide Sliver might work, too.

The bottom line
This is a fun deck and a relatively inexpensive one. Sometimes, instead of saving up for a set of That Latest Hot Rare, it's fun to get a whole mess of inexpensive cards and build an unusual deck with them. Let me know what you think.


by Rob Rogers at Wed, 10/10/2007 - 13:50
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Hey, thanks. I look forward to hearing how it works out.

Nice deck! by Necropotent at Fri, 10/05/2007 - 01:49
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Great article! I love your deck and the ideas around it. I thought you did an excellent job by looking into other options for the deck and presenting ways to adjust it to fit different formats.

 I like the idea of putting in Kiki-Jiki and Doubling Season. I think I'll throw something together and give it a spin. I'll let you know how things pan out!

by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 15:21
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Oh, didn't hear about her revised text

war pride by vjcsmoke (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 22:14
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nice first article. i've been thinking of ways to break warpride since i first ran into it in a casual room game. forcemage is one of the first cards i thought of. But how about kiki jiki?

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 22:24
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Hey, give Kiki-Jiki a spin with this deck and let me know how it works out. I used to play Magic years ago and dropped out around the time Exodus came out. I started playing again around the time of Coldsnap, so my knowledge of certain cards from the time in between (including Kamigawa) is a bit vague. I've heard of Kiki-Jiki, certainly, and seen him used a few times, but I've never owned one.

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:32
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Darn it! It just happened again! I was on the second article (the Black/Green one) and clicked Save, and it saved over the other article. I was really careful to make sure that I was on the right page and the right article, too.

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 10:20
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Thanks. I'm working on it.

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 11:38
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Thanks. I'm not sure how quirky I'll get with Nacatl War-Pride (the Black/Green deck isn't particularly quirky, I suppose). But I'll try to build something quirky soon.

working on it by mtgotraders at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:07
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I'm working on it.  I'm beyond annoyed at this piece of crap system right now. 

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:10
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Thanks. I'm not sure how I managed to do that. I didn't think I even had the first story open.

issue by mtgotraders at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:18
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Yeah it's been an issue for a while now but somehow has been ignored.  It is a user error but it's obviously confusing because it's happening so much.  I'm not positive I can recover the article but i'm going to make sure this gets fixed.  I've wasted lots of money on articles that just got overwritten and i'm sure it's very frustrating for the author's who's hard work get ignored.  I'm very very sorry and i'll try to fix this today.

by Rob Rogers at Mon, 10/01/2007 - 22:58
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Thanks. I appreciate it. I guess I need to get started on the next one, then!

Great work by Basic Land at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 01:36
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I'm interested to read an article on an offbeat rare. War-Pride is a fun card. But let's see a quirky combo.

Fun article, keep up the good work. I also like the formatting of your article.


Offbeat Uncommon? by iceage4life at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 01:58
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Just wanted to point out that this isn't an offbeat rare but an offbeat uncommon ;)

by JXClaytor at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 02:01
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I hope we get an article on the other deck as well.

by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 07:18
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I should probably mention that with oracle updates Lovisa Cold Eyes becomes a barbarian and therefore she will be a 5/5 with haste from then on =)

by Rob Rogers at Tue, 10/02/2007 - 10:20
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If only it were so! Yes, she'll be a Barbarian, but her revised Oracle text says that she gives the +2/+2 bonus to Warrior, Berserker and other Barbarian creatures. So she won't reap the benefits of her own ability. That's the same kind of templating that Lord of Atlantis, Goblin King, and other "lord" creatures have now. I suppose that if you could change her creature type to Warrior or Berserker somehow (through Conspiracy or Runed Stalactite, maybe), she'd get the bonus, but that would be a lot of work.

Nice debut article. by AJ_Impy at Mon, 10/01/2007 - 22:53
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Welcome aboard. The article makes for an interesting read: I briefly touched on the Warpride for tribal back in June in my 'Step in Time' article, but this sort of in-depth Johnny coverage is excellent, and I like the way you addressed as many formats as possible.

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