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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Nov 26 2007 10:37am
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States results have been coming in for a couple of weeks now.  Planeswalkers like Garruk Wildspeaker and Ajani Goldmane had a huge impact on the format.  Gaddock Teeg and Doran were played a lot, as was Faerie Trickery Militia's Pride and Profane Command.  Lorwyn has really had an impact on the Standard format, and I'm really glad that it has been a lot more of an impact than what it could have been, you know, Momentary Blinking a Mulldrifter and what not.  

Perhaps the most exciting deck to come out of States was the Blue Black Makeshift control deck that dominated just about every field it was played in.  This deck showed it was for real by placing two copies in the top eight of Grand Prix Krakow.  The other interesting deck of note from that Grand Prix was Sonic Boom (It has
Guile in it, which makes this the closest to a crossover with Street Fighter that Magic will ever get.) Along with the Mono Blue deck, we get a solid control deck from Paul Cheon featuring a Pickles lock.

Seems to me that Blue based control decks are now the decks to beat in Standard.  Of course, this has been proven to me in the eight man queues on MTGO.  I've taken a fair share of lumps from the blue menace(s) and think I have come up with a deck that can not be competitive in the entire field, but offer up a really good matchup with the Blue based control decks.

Let's take a look at that now!  (Well, it's not the final build but rather my first build)

Electric Thunder (Suggested deck)


2 Molten Disaster
3 Avalanche Riders
2 Boom/Bust
3 Siege-Gang Commander


Birds of Paradise 
4 Call of the Herd 
Troll Ascetic
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Yavimaya Dryad


6 Forest
3 Mountain
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Karplusan Forest
2 Horizon Canopy
4 Treetop Village


3 Eyes of the Wisent
3 Quagnoth
3 Krosan Grip
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Molten Disaster

I started to work on this deck shortly after the spoiler for Lorwyn was released.  I have a pretty big crush on Tarmogoyf, Troll Ascetic, and Garruk.  I figured anyone building a green deck would of course start off with those three cards.  Turns out I was wrong.  Troll Ascetic is not nearly as good as he used to be, what with no Swords in the format.  Loxodon Warhammer is nice and all, but it's just not enough.  

In all honesty, this build was pretty terrible, and I discarded it shortly after beginning to test it because I felt it had too many problems for me to deal with in the short time before states.  There is a lack of reach (And by reach, I mean burn, the deck is just men with some spells.) Control would often times give it fits.  The flaws of the deck were just too numerous, so I felt that it was best to get rid of it before I wasted anymore of mine or my team mates time. 

Of course, seeing what the deck has turned into makes me regret turning away from it in the first place!

Electric Thunder Final Version 


4 Lash Out
2 Molten Disaster
2 Boom/Bust
3 Avalanche Riders


4 Wall of Roots
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Fertile Ground
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Call of the Herd
4 Primal Command
4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss


4 Treetop Village
3 Mountain
Karplusan Forest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
2 Horizon Canopy


Eyes of the Wisent
3 Quagnoth
3 Krosan Grip
3 Dead/Gone

Well it is quite easy to see that the two decks outside of sharing some common elements like Tarmogoyf and Garruk Wildspeaker are two radically different decks.  The first deck has a dedicated beatdown plan, and looks to beat control in a long game war of attrition via Siege-Gang Commanders.  The second deck looks to lock up control decks as well, but tries to do so via a dedicated land destruction theme. 

So how did I get to a deck that looks to beat up on control with some land destruction spells from a shell that was nothing more than a beatdown deck? 

That's a good question!  In testing, the first version just was not holding its own against the control decks that we felt were going to be huge at States.  We had forecasted that Teachings Control, Dralnu Control and some form of Blink were going to be the best control decks. (I think we were pretty accurate there.  In Kentucky Blink was one of the most played decks.) 

So those control decks all have something in common.  They all have mass removal, either in the form of Damnation or Wrath of God.  They are all counter light, so it would be easier for your threats to resolve, and they all rely  on non basic lands to power out their spells.  

Knowing this it was just a matter of time before someone somewhere figured out a strategy to beat these decks.  Of course, I just recently figured this out.  To further complicate things, Grand Prix Krakow threw a monkey wrench into the metagame with the advent of two new decks.  So what could beat these two new counter packs nightmares and still have some sort of game against the rest of the field? 

Well Electric Thunder can do the trick.  I'm going to explain my card choices here, and in part two of the article, I will go indepth in regards to sideboarding strategies, matchups and even have a couple of game walkthroughs for you.  I truly believe that this deck can be a contender, I've been doing well in eight mans with it, and by well I mean my constructed rating is now closer to 1700 than it was four days ago (and four days ago I was hovering around 1620!) I've won twenty four packs with the deck and have played in eight single elimination tournaments.  (For those of you counting, I've split in everyone of them.)   

Regardless of my bragging, I want to explain my choices.  

Lash Out:  Yes, this card gets a lot of weird remarks. It did start off as Incinerate, but I wanted something that could do more.  Lash Out deals with a man, that much is known, plus it allows me to modify my draws, and has a thirty three percent shot of doming the opponent for three as well.  This won out over Tarfire even though it could make Tarmogoyf a little bit bigger.
Lash Out

Fertile Ground
Fertile Ground:  This is another choice card that gets some mockery.  Let's compare this to Search for Tomorrow, which is one of the key mana fixing spells in the format.  If you hit this on turn one in suspend, you are going to have four mana by turn three.  With Fertile Ground, you cast it on turn two, and you still have four mana on turn three.  The difference is this, there are plenty of sorceries in the deck, and when building around Tarmogoyf, you need to find room for the rare Enchantment type now.  I can not tell you how many times I have put a Ground on Horizon Canopy and added two to my goyf's power and toughness.  Yes, I am giving up deck thinning by not running the search, but I am allowing my deck to a have a bit more synergy. 

Primal Command:  If you thought I got laughed at for playing the previous cards, than you will not believe the amount of giggles coming when this card is put on the stack.  I love this card!  Against aggresive decks it gains me seven life and finds me a blocker.  Against control it bounces a land and finds an Avalanche Rider.   That is an insane amount of tempo you gained!  It can deal with opposing Call of the Herds. (shuffle the graveyard) Most importantly it gives you the chance to make two game changing decisions. 
Primal Command

I now want to address the ways this deck has to win.  This is a tempo deck, so you're going to want to start off with a quick Tarmogoyf, build him up huge by disrupting their mana sources, and ride him and the Treetop Village to victory.  Let's go a little more in depth

Win conditions:

Tarmogoyf:  Clearly among the best creatures in Standard right now, he may also be a little bit over hyped.  I feel that he is a natural fit here, and gives the deck a Magnivore feel to it (Yep, both of them are even Lhurgoyfs.) He is bigger than most other aggro decks creatures (Greater Gargadon and opposing Tarmogoyfs clock in as bigger or the same.) and he is a clock that control has to deal with or lose to.  Of course everyone knows this about Tarmogoyf. 

Pro Tip:  Tarmogoyf is good.  Call of the Herd:  Makes large men.  Puts control on a clock, you get two uses out of the same card.  Treetop Village:  Everyone knows that this card is insane against control.  It's an uncounterable source of damage.  It makes the control player waste a Cryptic Command to return it to your hand, and often times hits for six damage before they play a Teferi.  It's not so good against aggro, but it gets the job done.  

Garruk Wildspeaker:  I am pretty sure that this guy is the best Planeswalker.  He allows you to make a Goyf along with himself on turn four, makes men, and has an ultimate ability that more often than not spells doom for the opponent.   

The Disruption (Well outside of
Primal Command and Lash Out)

Avalanche Riders:  This guy is going to rarely win games for you.  His soul purpose is to destroy a land, and soak up a blocker.  He saves you a few life points and puts your opponent back a turn. 

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss:  This card provides the deck thinning that Search for Tomorrow would have given the deck.  However, this spell also destroys an opponent's land, which is what this deck is supposed to do.  

Boom/Bust:  Targeted land destruction in the early game, or a back breaking Armageddon in the late game?  The choice is yours of course!  One of my favorite plays with this card came against Sonic Boom.  I have two Wall of Roots in play, a Garruk Wildspeaker and four lands.  My opponent Cryptic Commands my Garruk in response to me activating his untap two land ability.  In response I tapped those lands for mana, let the Command resolve, and tried to cast Garruk again.  This was meet with a Pact of Negation, and I was pretty sad.  Well, I may have been sad, but my opponent did not count on Boom to end the game on turn five, I destroyed one of his lands, and he was on four mana during his upkeep.  Really hard to pay for the Pact at that point right?

Finally we have the lands (Which I am not going to insult your intelligance with.  I'm not playing the Hideaway lands because I think they are terrible in this deck.  I'm not playing Fungal Reaches because I feel it is too slow, and I am not heavy into snow, so the come into play tapped land is also out.) and Molten Disaster.

Molten Disaster:  I needed a board sweeper against aggro, and I needed a finisher against control.  I tried Sulfurous Blast for about an hour, than decided that I just needed the power of an uncounterable Earthquake.  


Anti Blue suite:  Cyroclasm, Eyes of the Wisent, Quagnoth

Cryoclasm is a Stone Rain that deals three points of damage.  Eyes of the Wisent trades one of my cards for a counterspell and nets me a 4/4 beater.  Quagnoth is an uncounterable threat that is also insane against Black Green Rack.

The rest of the board (Dead/Gone and Krosan Grip) are just utility spells Dead/Gone is great against aggro, and Grip helps out against decks that rely heavily on Oblivion Ring and gives me an answer to Razormane MasticorePithing Needle and Story Circle.  

This is going to wrap up the small evolution and history of one of my most successful eight man decks.  Join me in the next and final installment of Under the Radar, when I take a look at matchups, sideboarding strategies, and a couple of walkthroughs to show you the power of this deck!  

Thanks for reading!


by urzishra14 at Thu, 11/29/2007 - 21:41
urzishra14's picture

funnny.. i always play 61.. just because i think its funny and with MTGO sometimes an extra card is all that matters. .

I just can't see the difference 1 card could possibly make... even if it did, it would be so minimal that it is close to impossible to know how it effects your games .. and i won my first tournament with a 61 card deck after losing time and time again with 60 card decks.

anyways... love the deck.. love the additions..

by Shivan Bird at Wed, 11/28/2007 - 18:25
Shivan Bird's picture

Sorry if I goofed with Utopia Sprawl. I'm not that familiar with Standard and the card search engine I used said it was legal.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 11/27/2007 - 23:57
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

What set is utopia sprawl in again...........

Thoughts by JohnnyHardcore at Wed, 11/28/2007 - 00:37
JohnnyHardcore's picture

First off gentlemen, Utopia Sprawl is in Dissension.  Not Standard legal.

Second, Utopia Sprawl is Enchant Forest.  There are 6 Forests in the whole deck.  So even if it were Standard legal, it would still be a horrible choice.

Now, as for the deck, I tooled around with it in TP for a minute, and I have to say I don't really know why Garruk is in the deck in the first place.  Garruk is very aggro, this deck is very control. Even in the situations where he would be good he just seems so win-more that it hurts.

I played 5 matches against 4 aggro, 1 U/W Pickles, went 2-2 vs. aggro, 1-0 vs. control.  The control matchup had to be won post sideboard, was totally dominated game one.  At no point during any of the games would a resolved Garruk have done anything but maybe soak up a few points of damage that were intended for my facehole.  My first change to the deck was to -3 Garruk, +1 Boom/Bust, +1 Molten Disaster, +1 Avalanche Riders.  

I played a very similar deck during TSP/PLC TSP Block, and the turn 3 land hit is very important vs. control, often because it is unexpected game 1.  After boarding the deck appears to absolutely annihilate control strategies, so stealing game 1 is more important than usual IMO. 

I added the extra Boom/Bust because geddon = gg, the extra disaster for the board sweeper that should help a little vs. aggro (I prayed for it during both of the aggro match losses, it would have won me the deciding game both times if I had drawn it), and the extra riders to hit the turn 3 LD a little more often.  

I haven't had time to test it with the changes, will do so tomorrow when I get off work, and will post results then.  All in all, fun deck to play, definately has game.  Kudos. 


PS: I dropped the 4th CotH before I started playing due to the fact that I despise 61 card decks with a passion.  Feel free to allow this to color your opinion of my results as you see fit. 

Nice deck by Shivan Bird at Tue, 11/27/2007 - 15:16
Shivan Bird's picture

I played against it a few times and do think it's tournament quality. 2 suggestions though: It doesn't seem to need dual lands that much; I'd get back to basics and then replace Fertile Ground with Utopia Sprawl. Also, since your deck doesn't need much more than four lands out (especially with the Planeswalker), shouldn't Creeping Mold be more useful than the Acid-Moss? When I was playing Andrew, he had to use the Primal Command to disenchant anything.

Fun Deck by Pyrosin at Mon, 11/26/2007 - 14:50
Pyrosin's picture

Fun deck.  Have you tried Greater Gargadon at all?  Floating 6 mana, sacrificing your lands to Gargadon, then Bust is too much fun.  Of course it's a lot less fun when you run into a counter spell.

Fantastic Deck, Great Article by Basic Land at Mon, 11/26/2007 - 11:50
Basic Land's picture

Nice job on making a rogue deck to take out the STD metagame. I got a chance to playtest one or two games, and my only thoughts are not enough happening in the early game, I never needed or wanted to cast a flashback call of the herd, and there are too many Primal Commands. I got three in each game I played. Although, three games is hardly enough to be an accurate measure for anything important. I did enjoy playing the deck though, and there are alot more decisions to be made than I originally thought. Fun and exciting at every turn. Bravo! I am looking forward to your next rogue deck.



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