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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
Dec 04 2007 9:20am
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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 pdcmagic.com

Villains are an interesting bunch. They do no necessarily have to be evil (although this is the case very often), but rather sometimes simply have different motivations; different world views. The best example of this is Magneto. While for much of his character history he was villainous, it was revealed that his actions had good intentions (in some respects), stemming from a brutal past. Adding to this is the fact that in order for heroes to be heroic, they need villains to conquer over. Darth Vader (Original Trilogy version, not the emo-fied New Trilogy Dawson's Creek reject) would not have been such a bad ass if he had not killed the Emperor.

So what the hell does this have to do with PDC?

Currently, Classic has a villain, although you may want to call it an anti-hero: Mono Blue Control (From here on MUC.) The Mono-Blue control deck that is currently dominating the PDC Classic metagame is not traditional MUC. Instead, this deck, championed by LulThyme, is a carefully tuned list of singletons and relatively specialized cards. Rather than seeking to dominate control on control match ups, Lul's MUC, from my observation, is more tuned to the creature based decks of PDC, sporting such good blockers as Dream Stalker and Fathom Seer alongside the stellar Spire Golem. Here is the list:

4 Counterspell
1 Echoing Truth
4 Exclude
4 Force Spike
20 Island
4 Lonely Sandbar
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Prohibit
3 Repulse
4 Spire Golem
1 Dream Stalker
1 Fathom Seer
4 Piracy Charm
4 Think Twice

2 Deep Analysis
1 Echoing Truth
4 Hydroblast
1 Mana Leak
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
1 Repulse
2 Dream Stalker
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Fathom Seer
1 Snapback

Spire Golem

The Piracy Charms and Force Spikes are what really make the deck shine against aggressive strategies. This turn one plays help the MUC player establish an aggressive defense from the very beginning of the game. Additionally, the presence of such cards demand respect and recognition from an opponent- playing into one can often be a devastating tempo loss.

While this deck has more issues (in my experience) with control decks, that does not mean control is a bad match up. Rather, the counterspells in this deck combined with a control deck's tendency to play few win conditions means that the MUC player can often handle any threat before it matters.

Why do I call MUC, at least this version, the anti-hero of PDC? Well, for one, it plays spoiler. This deck can basically dismantle that vast majority of decks taken to a PDC event. This is not because the deck is better than every deck, but rather because the pilots are playing a different game: they are playing to win, and are willing to do everything necessary to win. This is the crux of tournament Magic- playing Magic in a competitive model to win.

I do not mean to imply that PDC players do not want to win, but more often than not, they want to win on their own terms. Talented deck builder Kingritz often will build decks that could flat out dominate games in the absence of counter magic or land destruction. When faced against those decks, Kingritz's creations, most notably Parlor Tricks, would have fits trying to deal with these cards. King and I have very different opinions about PDC (just look at some of our old forum arguments). When we spoke about this aspect of his deck building, the impression I got from him was that “those” decks were not “fun” and because of that, people should not play them.

King was half correct: many PDC players see these strategies (counterspell based control, land destruction) as “not-fun” and therefore do not run these cards en masse in order to appease their opponents.

The decks are designed with mercy in mind. MUC has no mercy, MUC wants to win. In an environment full of forgiving decks, the one that forgives the least should win the most, and MUC is quite unforgiving.

My point is not to insult players (although I might be taken that way) but rather to demonstrate the two different paradigms that exist in the minds of PDC players: win or win on my terms. In other words, PDC is a format where Johnny is fighting Spike. In this fight, Spike will win, not because Spike is the better player, but because Spike is more focused on winning.

That being said, let us take a look at this MUC build. First, it runs seventeen(!) counterspells, only four of which are unconditional. Depending on your spells, the second best counter in the deck is either Exclude or Prohibit, and even then they are limited. This aspect of the deck will be important later.

This deck is also heavily tuned to beat aggro. In addition to the Force Spikes and Piracy Charms, six of the seven creatures in the deck are solid blockers. Because of this, MUC can hold the fort until it has control of the game and then start going to town with Spire Golems.

MUC finally has access to thirteen cards that can draw other cards, either through Cycling or more traditional means.

What do these things mean? Separate, they show a deck that is full of seemingly odd choices yet they are each carefully crafted to win against the deck's bad match ups. It runs the absolute minimum number of main deck threats but can make up for this through the ability to cycle through the deck at a very high speed. This gives the deck more virtual copies of key cards. Even though it only runs seventeen actual counterspells, it is likely to see this cards at a rate akin to having twenty four counterspells. Similarly, even though it runs only seven actual “threats,” this number appears much higher due to the ability to see more cards.

This, as I perceive it, is the deck's key to victory. It runs more virtual great cards than most decks run in actual cards. The ability to constantly draw cards means that the bullets are often much more than one would guess. Essentially, every card appears as if there are plus two copies of each.

MUC also has a severe focus- it has one overarching game plan for every match up: counter threats until the game is dominated. While this varies from match up to match up, the overall goal is the same. This is an important reason the deck does so well in PDC: the combination of less focused decks and decks that simply are dogs to MUC lend to the Blue deck's repeated success.

So how does one beat the beast? Attacking the weaknesses of the deck. Now, the deck has some definite shortcomings that people definitely can exploit, but often choose not to. This brings up the second way to beat MUC: play better Magic with better decks. I am going to now take a look at these two aspects of beating the Blue deck.

Looking at the weaknesses of MUC, one jumps out right away: the lack of threats. Even in the build listed above, there is a maximum of twelve threats with seven bounce spells to save them (again, post board). Additionally, the best threats available to the deck are Spire Golem and Errant Ephemeron. This cards are creatures, and are such easy to deal with. The Golem is also an artifact, making it doubly easy to kill. Being able to handle these threats are vital to defeating MUC. One of the best cards out there to handle MUC, pre-board, is Ancient Grudge. This card demands two answers, effectively acting as card advantage. It also demands that the deck runs Red and Green, the colors of one of the best aggressive decks in PDC. If people want to beat MUC, starting with a deck that can run the Grudge is a good bet.

If you do not have access to grudge, another set of cards to run are low condition removal spells. Cards such as Terminate, Rend Flesh, and Eyeblight's Ending have a much better chance of killing the threats MUC can produce since they do not rely on toughness. The efficiency of Incinerate, Last Gasp and Lightning Bolt have made them the removal spells of choice in the current PDC landscape. These cards are terrible against MUC. The cards that read “destroy target” are slightly slower, but are better suited to kill creatures dead, rather than give some a chance to survive. What it comes down to is that if you can contain MUC's true threats, the ones that fly, you have a much better chance of winning the game.

This deck also only runs four unconditional counterspells in the form of the eponymous Counterspell. Knowing this can give yo a huge advantage. Playing spells that force the deck to waste counters to protect information, such as Duress can give you a huge advantage. This is because MUC wins on misinformation. The ability to draw a large portion of its deck while running so many counterspells means that the fear of not resolving a spell can often buy MUC the time it needs to establish a game plan. A resolved Duress can give near prefect information about cards in hand, and allow you to better craft a plan around the information gleaned. Even if Duress is countered, that is one answer that will not be spent on a later threat.

From a more aggressive vantage point, the best bet is to play creatures early, drawing counters and nudging through damage. Hopefully, this will get the control player on a low enough life total that burn available could seal the deal (provided you are running Red, which you are, because you want to win). At this point, I am going to “borrow” from Mike Flores who got this nugget from Donald Lim (I actually overheard this conversation at Neutral Ground, but since Flores just published it on the Mothership, I do not want to be seen as some sort of plagiarist). As the Red deck, you just keep drawing burn until you have more burn than the control player can possibly have counters, and then you one for one once a turn, since you will have eight cards in hand (on your turn) to MUC's seven. Even if MUC flashes back Think Twice, that is mana wasted that can not be used to counter later burn. This is perhaps the most obvious error I see players make when fighting MUC: they simply bait one or two spells at a time, instead of playing for the long game. This becomes harder in the post board matchups where MUC has Hydroblast, but the same principle applies.

There is also the option of simply running more threats than MUC has answers for. Cloak Stompy can side up to forty (40!) creatures meaning that all but the strongest defensive draw can keep MUC in the game. Any deck that can do this simply wants to curve out early and then hold important threats until absolutely necessary. This can put MUC on the back foot and delay their ability to control the game. This preys on the decks preference for the mid and late game, rather than the first few turns.

You may want to run spells that can evade the counters available to MUC. Gravedigger is a great bit of card advantage for Black decks, but is thwarted by twelve of the answers MUC provides. Warren Pilferers, on the other hand, can evade Prohibit and has the advantage of being a faster clock. This subtle change in deck construction can make a deck more resilient in the face of countermagic: now MUC has to have one of eight spells instead of one of twelve- the odds are not in the Blue mage's favor. Picking spells that render as many of MUC's answers useless is a path to victory. Take, for example, Corrupt. In game one, MUC only has five hard answers to this spell, making the chance of resolving the big Black menace significantly higher than resolving, say, a Wild Mongrel

You can also fight fire with fire and pack your own limited counter suite. Deep Dog used to have a very high rate of success against MUC (the deck has since fallen out of favor due to it's inability to handle aggro well) because it packed large beaters and the ability to force them through with conditional counterspells. Being able to resolve a 4/4 Werebear goes a long way in fighting through a herd of four toughness creatures.

Finally, Lorwyn has given decks a fantastic tool: Merfolk. Many members of this tribe either have Islandwalk or the ability to grant Islandwalk. Inkfathom Divers strikes me as a very powerful tool in the fight against MUC, as it allows you to set up the upcoming turns while beating down with a 3/3 body. MUC has only eight counters that can handle the body, as Prohibit does not work against the Divers, and Repulseing the creature can have middling results.

This is quite a bit of information about attacking weaknesses. It takes a lot more than just running answers to do well in PDC. You could go out and pack a deck with Counterspell, Corrupt, and Ancient Grudge, and you would lose to your own mana base. On top of that, PDC is not all about MUC even though it is a top deck. Having a strong game plan against MUC is just one key to success. Having a strong deck is a huge part of doing well in PDC, and it does not have to be a top deck, but rather one that has been constructed with a knowledge of what is out there. You do not bring a knife to a gun fight and you do not bring 60card.dec to a PDC event.

These guns do not have to be a top deck, but rather one that is cognizant of what is out there. There is a wealth of metagame data available for all PDC events on the MTGO boards and also at www.pdcmagic.com. No longer is going into a PDC event a blind aim at the dartboard, as there are some metagame trends. This does not mean that people do not still pack their homebrews, but rather the decks you are likely to face in the elimination rounds will conform to certain archetypes. Building a strong deck usually will give you the upper hand against 60card.dec, and knowing what the trends are will allow you to take a calculated risk agains the field. Since MUC is often at the top of the standings, this means having some maindeck answers to the Blue beast while not sacrificing effectiveness against the field. Let us take a look at some decks that have accomplished this task this season. Note that these are not all decks that have beaten MUC, or even the optimal version of the deck, but rather those that have demonstrated the ability to take down Goliath:

Angel Stompy

4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Elvish Warrior
13 Forest
3 Llanowar Elves
4 Predator's Strike
3 Quirion Ranger
4 River Boa
4 Selesnya Sanctuary
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Tangle Golem
1 Tranquil Thicket
4 Wild Mongrel

Armadillo Cloak

My pet deck this season has performed admirably in the face of MUC over the past week. Prior to this, I had not tested the pairing properly and misunderstood how the game should progress. This deck exemplifies the “no fear” strategy against MUC, running out creatures, seeking to establish control with damage before sitting back and amassing threats in hand. In Classic 7.05, MUC was 0-2 against Angel Stompy, both matches won in sideboarded games. How does it work? Stompy sides out Cloaks for four extra creatures, increasing threat density and simply wins on sheer volume.

Angel Stompy, however, suffers very little in an open field. The life gain of Armadillo Cloak allows the deck to fight off other aggro with ease. Aggro-control and mid-range often have issues establishing a game plan before being forced into a defensive position. The only real threat to decks like Stompy are board control, as they pack the sweepers and overload of removal that can often unhinge the best beat down plan.


4 Carrion Feeder
4 Elves of Deep Shadow
4 Faceless Butcher
4 Fists of Ironwood
7 Forest
4 Golgari Rot Farm
4 Last Gasp
4 Nantuko Husk
4 Scatter the Seeds
3 Shinen of Life's Roar
3 Strength of Night
7 Swamp
4 Deathspore Thallid
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Nantuko Husk

This deck has the potential for explosive openings and dominating late game. The ability to generate more creatures than MUC has answers for and the ability to dodge Echoing Truth through sacrifice effects gives Husk.dec the tools to fight MUC. Toss in some discard and solid creature removal that can stick around a la Faceless Butcher, and this deck was one play away from taking a match from MUC in Classic 7.05.

Agains thte field, this deck has removal, disruption, and the ability to steal wins from no where. Good things in PDC.

Husk in Red

2 Barren Moor
4 Carrion Feeder
2 Forgotten Cave
2 Last Gasp
2 Lava Zombie
2 Lightning Bolt
5 Mountain
3 Nantuko Husk
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Seal of Fire
7 Swamp
2 Terminate
3 Grim Harvest
2 Inner-Flame Acolyte
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Rakdos Carnarium
2 Stingscourger
2 Terramorphic Expanse

Carrion Feeder

Much like the deck above, this deck has the weapons available to fihgt MUC. It also has the added bonus of Instant speed burn which can be useful in forcing through those last few points.

Rats and Removal

4 Innocent Blood
4 Terminate
4 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Last Gasp
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
4 Phyrexian Rager
3 Crypt Rats
3 Gravedigger
2 Gutless Ghoul
2 Grim Harvest
4 Chittering Rats
3 Stinkweed Imp
4 Mountain
2 Rakdos Carnarium
17 Swamp

Grim Harvest

Preying on PDCs reliance on creatures, this deck wins the attrition war, hands down. A strong board control deck, R & R wants to eliminate every threat and then slowly win on the back of a Grim Harvest engine. This deliberate form of card advantage can match MUC's traditional advantage in the long game (and when these two sqaure off, there is a long game).

This deck, however, does have issues with other non-counter based control decks, as the overload of removal can potentially leave R & R open for attack.

MUC is a beast, but it is containable. A failure to plan is planning to fail, and not knowing what is out there will simply perpetuate the myth that MUC is the immovable object.

Keep slingin' commons-




by khirareq at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 22:31
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Just wanted to chime in and say,


Spike, this is some of your best work.  Good job!

by SpikeBoyM at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 13:37
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The wonderful world of typos.  That should be post-board.  This is what I get for taking breaks mid-sentence.  As far as Grudge, personally, I would not run it as I feel there are better options in the RG vs MUC match up.  However, I was trying to provide examples of the style of card neccessary to combat MUC.  Grudge is one such card, as it has an inherent form of card advantage, being two spells in one card. 

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 13:28
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This is what I thought.

But, as you say yourself, Ancient Grudge is a pre-board answer, how does having it in the sideboard help?

What I mean by this is if I'm playing RG with MUC, I'll often side out the Spires to avoid cards like Ancient Grudge. 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 08:18
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as spike said, nobody is advocating playing like this from the start!


The beginning of the game is the same as everybody is used to, this is just an improvement on how to beat MUC once it's in control. 

by SpikeBoyM at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 08:18
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No, not unless Affinity makes a strong come back.  However, most PDC players, in my observation, do not care about their sideboards and simply put together a package of cards rather than targeted answers.  The Grudge falls into this latter category.

by SpikeBoyM at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 08:16
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No, that's right, it only runs 18 land.  It does not need any more.

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 22:13
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Except this article goes to pains to explain how Blue is not an all powerful being- it is not the Alpha and the Omega.  More than anything else, Blue decks rely on the psychology of being Blue, and the fear associated with the color,  to win.

by MechtaK (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 01:37
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I don't disagree with you, not at all.  What I'm pointing out is, 1) until WotC takes the R&D against blue more seriously, there will always be a new MUC to plan against, they get the cards designed to keep it alive much much more frequently than cards that would give it trouble, and 2) that designing decks to take it on and keep it from being the monster it can be, can sometimes backfire on you when you still need to keep ito play against 3 to 5 other deck archetypes that aren't MUC.

Fundamentally, the problem is that there is very little you can do to return the favor on MUC without going into the deck construction with only that on your mind.  Its a vicious cycle that I have seen many a time in paper tourneys, and I just wanted to point it out here.  I'm a HUGE fan of any blue control decks, but I'm also smart enough to understand why that is the case.

Ahhh, the days of the Wiesmann decks... memories...

Peace out.

Is it just me by The Pink Floyd (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 07:10
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Hi SpikeBoyM


Am I missing something, or does that Angel Stompy deck only have 18 lands ???

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 07:57
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Just a small question.

Are you actually advising Ancient Grudge preboard?

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 12/05/2007 - 08:15
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What Spike (and Flores) said is basically right, but in practice in PDC there's a slight twist.

There should basically 3 Phases in Burn Range (and many similar deck)'s plan to beat MUC.


Phase 1 is when you use your curve advantage to resolve as many key spells as you can before MUC can get a strong hand. This is mostly about pure speed but can include some tricks (trying to play burn during MUC's end step, etc...)

Pretty much everybody understands this phase correctly, but incorrectly assume it's the whole game plan.

The limit between phase 1 and phase 2 is when you have run out of most of your gas and MUC can probably easily stop any of your threat if you cast-as-you draw.Now obviously in some cases, Burn can win in phase 1 and then the whole point is moot.


Now what Flores and Spike are saying concerns phase 2 and 3.



Phase 2 consists of amassing your ressources (mostly cards in hands and lands in play, can include some lands in hand depending on deck), until you can go to phase 3.


Phase 3 could be called "the overload". Now in Flores (and Spike's more or less) explanation, this is because you overload the number of cards of MUC, by having 8 cards. Now even this isn't theoretically fail proof (they could have a cantrip counterspell or whatever). But in PDC , in my experience, there is much easily achievable "MUC Overload", in any case: the mana overload.

For example, in Burn Range, the relevant spells average a CC of around 1 or so (a few 2s, a few 0s), while  MUC's average counter is closer to 2. Of course MUC has card drawing and can often get a few more lands (even that's not that true, recently a lot of MUC's drawing came at the cost of lands in play because of fathom seer) but not twice as much, and using end turn tricks, you get two uses out of each of your lands compared to their one.

Say MUC has 5-6 lands, then they can counter probably 3-4 spells if they have a pretty good hand. Then as soon as you have 5-6 relevent spells, you can resolve one or two EVEN IF THEY HAVE 7 CARDS IN HANDS.

This is what I meant by the small twist on the Flores theory. He is basically correct that waiting is the correct strategy but in our particular example, he is wrong about what the breaking point is. 


Now granted this will not always work. Sometimes you won't draw your threats fast enough and MUC will draw too many cards and get too many lands and kill you too quickly.  That's the whole point of MUC.

But this is almost always a superior strategy to "cast as you draw" once the initial rush is over.


This goes for many similar extremly low curve decks too. Angel Stompy went 2-0 in matches against my MUC last event by sideboarding into lots of threats and I think using more or less this strategy. 

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 21:57
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I advocate this mode of play because, as you say, the beatdown deck should have reduced MUCs life total significantly, to the point where one burn spell should seal the deal.  It is hard to provide a real world example without being redundant, but let's take the example of a deck with 40 Lightning Bolts and 20 Mountains against a deck with 20 Islands and 40 Counterspells.  Lightning Bolt.dec has the early advantage, able to eat life until the Blue deck stablizes.  If this happens with the Blue deck at 6 life,the Red deck simply needs to draw a hand full of Bolts to the point where it has 8 burn spells on its own turn. The Blue deck cannot possibly have 8 counters, so one spell is a lock to resolve.  The process then repeats as many times as neccessary to ensure the Red decks victory.  Long?  Yes.  Effective? Yes.


by urzishra14 at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 17:01
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one could argue that no one... always pilots effectively even if its built properly... Burn decks are just Control decks of a different color.. at least thats why I see it. Burn decks need to run cards that let them "buy time" too.. its why they run small fast quick beat creatures.. to put threats on the board.

I disagree that one needs to go into mental games with mono blue players, it goes against quick effecient beats. maybe in some situations it is correct to stand pat and fill your hand.. but because of how blue cards work, they create card quality and card advantage. Red cards use damage to create card advantage (meaning your burn card that gets through is equal to +1 draw or +1 turn) 

Maybe I'm not "understanding" the point of waiting until you have 8 cards and they have 7.. you only get to play one card if all 7 of the other cards counter each other out... and if that happens you are giving the advantage to the control player (as they'll continue to have more cards than you until critical mass) which by that time you have given him 8 turns to find a way to beat you.. is that really the correct route?.. I didn't quite understand when Flores said it, and I'm not sure why you are are advocating it here.

 Please give a real world example on this!.. not only am I not "seeing it" obviously I'm not the only one. 


anyways.. good article...

by Me5794 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 14:31
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I have talked to Spike Many times about this subject and i must say he has done a wonderful job of putting the advice/lessons learned that most of us have learned facing MUC.

 This article is a must read in today's classic enviroment. Not only does it show a little (i'm sure Lulthyme could butt in to give us all more insight) of how MUC operates, but this also shows ways to beat it.

 Like i said this is an informative article and i will reference it to people interested into classic as long as it remains viable

Since day 1... by MechtaK (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 15:53
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MUC has been a complete pain since the beginnings of Magic.  As new sets were released, it became apparent to me then, and seems to be a relevant argument now with this argument, that WotC has always favored this archetype.  Back in the day, many of us complained to actual WotC R&D people, that blue was way over-represented in its archtype, that being counter and bounce spells.  Though they have addressed this issue in some respects, they completely disregarded our suggestions to keep the theme playable while continuing to produce even more counter and bounce cards.

It may seem as if I am rambling, and I am a bit, I've always had a problem with blue being almost unstoppable with the counter/draw/bounce combinations, and cause players to design decks to specifically take out that deck (and thus screwing the decks metagame).  In PDC, it is even worse, because of WotC's preference for the archetype.  How do I know?  Some of them actually told me, to paraphrase, "We aren't likely to make too many commons that screw with the counterspell environment."  Huh?  When all other archetypes DO have that, with tons of commons to deal with the mess?  It's a crazy idea.

So, look at blue, and see you need to out spell him, and hope he doesn't do alot of bouncing, or ... use cards that specifically keep that from happening.  Barring cards that can choose a color, there is only one common that I know has Protection from blue.  Of the cards that will mess with the counter environment, there is ONLY 1 card with Protection from blue, Split Second, or "can't be countered" effect that is also common.  Yavimaya Barbarian.  Though I stepped away from the game for almost 7 years, I can see that they have continued to hold onto this philosophy.

Oh, and common counterspells and bounce, still being made.  Go figure.

My 2 mana worth. 

by SpikeBoyM at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 13:05
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While your plan makes perfect sense for the start of the game, there comes a time where the Red deck might run out of gas and have to reload on burn spells.  By this time, the Blue player should have taken a significant amount of damage, if the Red deck is A) built properly and B) piloted effectively.  It is at this point that the Red deck wants to amass spells in order to overcome the countermagic available to MUC.


by krosanbeast9359 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:59
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Well done, spikeboy! Very informative article on how to beat MUC! There are a couple of points I'd like to make though:

"As the Red deck, you just keep drawing burn until you have more burn than the control player can possibly have counters, and then you one for one once a turn, since you will have eight cards in hand (on your turn) to MUC's seven. Even if MUC flashes back Think Twice, that is mana wasted that can not be used to counter later burn. This is perhaps the most obvious error I see players make when fighting MUC: they simply bait one or two spells at a time, instead of playing for the long game."

This seems counterintuitive as it is exactly what the MUC player wants, in the long game, the control player almost always has the advantage (whether it be card advantage or mana resources, due to the structures of the decks). Remember, the MUC player doesn't necessarily have to counter every burn spell in your hand until he is at his last point of life (as I found out last sat playing against LulThyme =p). By advocating the "long game" against MUC, you negate the only advantage that red decks and that of its ilk has against MUC, and that is mainly, its speed. I simply cannot imagine what chances the burn player might have against the control player with a board full of mana sources to counter your spells. Aren't your chances better playing the tempo game against MUC when it hasn't fully set up its board position?

Please let me know if I have misconstrued what you mean by the "long game".

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