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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Jan 07 2008 8:08am
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During my last foray into Classic deckbuilding, I left you with a BWG little concoction called Like a Rock.  It was reasonably satifying, but at that time, I was looking for a deck to take to the Sunday the 23rd PE.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to play in it, but it was the first one in a long time I was actually off work, and so while I wasn't sure I'd play in it, I wanted to be ready to.  I mean, four ticket 3X in my favorite format.  No-brainer right?

While I liked Like a Rock, it wasn't quite what I wanted.  I was tentatively set on 5-Color Domain Zoo, with Duress and Snare Snare main deck, along with Tribal Flames, Gaea's Might, and plenty of creatures.  It treated me well in testing, but it would occasionally flat out lose to it's mana, either to the damage I'd take, or from color-screw, and neither one was fun to lose to.   My other option was a stripped down, RDW-style build, splashing only green for Kird Ape and Tarmogoyf main-deck, and Ancient Grudge in the side.  This gave me a fast, dangerous deck, but it was weak against combo.  Four Pyroblast in the side along with four Leyline of the Void that I can only play by having in my opener in games two and three are not exactly the scariest set of cards for Flash to face off.  So, I had options, but nothing that filled me with glee.  I was also testing various Thresh/Dark Confidant/Counter-Top decks, but nothing seemed to work much better than Blue Green red Thresh, and all of them (aside from one of the better Counter-Top builds) seemed to auto-lose to any sort of RDW.

As an aside, the reason that people are able to successfully run RDW right now, aside from a nice mass of good burn in Classic, is the awful mana-bases we run.  Three or more colors of shock-lands and fetchs wreck our life total, and while it doesn't matter against a lot of decks, every time you place a shock-land untapped, you just gave the Red Deck a free card.  This will change as duals are printed in MED2, but I wonder if all ten duals will be ran out in that set, or maybe just allied colors... Anyway, RDW is here for a while, and to ignore it in your deck-building is a bad idea.  If you are going to run three or more colors, you need to have a way to make this acceptable while playing against someone seeking nothing more than to sac two mountains and Fireblast you out.  It is often better to lay a shock-land tapped than to take damage just to make them discard Lightning Bolt.  I mean, really, what did you gain from that?   One point of life?  Better to save the discard for next turn and take Incinerate or whatever other burn they have, and make them blow the Bolt to do what was going to happen anyway.

I understand that RDW isn't the most respected deck, but playing against it will either teach you to play tight.  You will learn how to conserve every point of life, a skill we don't always have to concern ourselves with in Classic.  Against Flash, if you're at tweleve or fifteen, you're dead either way when they combo out.  Against the burn, you have to account for, and justify, each point of life you give up.


I was testing, and ran into a fellow by the name of Margot7.  He absolutely rolled me with a White Weenie deck (with one black card I saw, Duress, and that was off a Caves of Koilos), crushing and disrupting with Jotun Grunt, Serra Avenger, AEther Vial, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Isamaru, Hound of Konda, Umezawa's Jitte, Swords to Plowshares, etc.  I was both impressed and excited by this beast.  It wouldn't likely lose to it's own mana, being mostly one color, had solid creatures to beat down, while they and a few other spells slowed up any problems an opponent might pose.

Now I had something to try out.  I threw together some cards, and started testing.  I quickly went more into Black, as the mana didn't get much worse, and doing so allowed me to run some more cards that I liked.  I made the changes slowly, as I didn't want to ruin the deck by taking away what made it great (in my eyes at least).  I wanted to run
Dark Confidant because he's great.  I put him in, and the deck took off for me.  I knew Duress was already a part of the deck, and I wanted to increase my ability to interact on my first two turns, so I added two Cabal Therapy and two Thoughtseize to try each of them out.  I ended up liking the 'Seize more, and kept 2 of them to complement my Duress suite.  Hymn to Tourach came in, although it does test the mana at times.  Gerrard's Verdict was the complement that's better on the mana, and better against aggro.

Building the mana was fun after messing around with three plus color decks.  It's so EASY when you're only in two colors, given Fetchlands and Duals.  I got a bit greedy, and added four copies of
Mishra's Factory, since they help quite a bit against aggro, however this is one place that could be tweaked a little.  My key "innovation" was to run two basics in each color to allow me to take less pain from my land, giving me a slight but important edge against aggro.  Previously I'd been winning occasionally against decks with burn, but after upping my basic to four, I was consistently able to pull out two games of three, usually winning on three or less life, but WINNING.

The flyers are key to our scheme, as they can break up ground stalls that often occur due to two to three creatures facing down two to three creatures and maybe a Factory.  Serra Avenger is a beast, able to attack and block weenies.

I wanted Edicts of some sort after realizing that this deck has a REALLY hard time beating a resolved Nimble Mongoose.  Smother's x 2 are kind've STP 5-6. Jotun Grunts work well with all the discard, randomly hose the graveyard, and are a key against Thresh, plus they're a beating when fighting off RDW.  

After a considerable amount of testing, here's the deck.

Deadguy Pale Ale (Tribute)

Meat and Taters
2 x
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
4 x Dark Confidant
4 x Jotun Grunt
3 x
Serra Avenger
4 x Samurai of the Pale Curtain
3 x Aven Mindcensor

4 x Swords to Plowshares
4 x
2 x Thoughtseize
3 x Hymn to Tourach
3 x Gerrard's Verdict
2 x Smother
3 x Cruel Edict

4 x
Godless Shrine
4 x Windswept Heath
3 x Bloodstained Mire
4 x Mishra's Factory
2 x Swamp
2 x Plains

Aven Mindcensor

 Side Board

4 x Disenchant
4 x Leyline of the Void
3 x Kataki, War's Wage
2 x Smother
2 x Dodecapod

This is the final build I ran after over a week of testing 5+ games a night.  It is still slightly rough, as evidenced by some of the 2x/3x, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it.  As the name suggests, it is kind of a tribute to Chris Pikula's deck from the 2005 Legacy Grand Prix.  It was a cool deck, and an absolutely fantastic name, and I wanted to tribute the Meddling Mage.  Saturday, I breached the subject of, "Possibly honey, I might MAYBE play in the PE tomorrow.  I'm not planning on it, but if everything works out well, I just might..."  My wife wasn't sold on the idea, but seemed to be considering it, since the Classic PEs only occur on Sundays, and this was the only one I'd had off or would have off in a while.  I bought my tix planning on entering, and even talked clanmate Ozzymage into entering also.

The tourney rolled around, and my Darling okayed me killing an afternoon playing Magic.  She went shopping for groceries and my stocking stuffers.  I'm really excited, and poor Ozzy and Javasci probably put up with about a million variations of, "Omigosh, I get to play!" leading up to the tournament.  After much encouragement by our boys (Thanks Arn, Jammy, JX, and anyone I missed!), and the loan of the Katakis by Java, (Much appreciated!), the tourny began.  

Round one, I'm paired up with JKILLA990, who was with the Affinity, of course.  This matchup isn't great for you, but you can 1-for-1 them and then stick a Dark Confidant, and out-card for a path to victory.  Game one, I win the roll, and choose to play, obvs.  He mulls to 6.  Yaus!  I drop a fetch, and pass.  He drops a Seat of the Synod and an Ornithopter (which Affinity legally is guaranteed in any opening hand).  I Fetch a dual tapped on his EOT, and then drop a Swamp on my turn, firing off the Gerrard's Verdict I hope will begin to put me ahead.  And it does!  He pitches 2 artifact lands, and I pass the turn, at a gaudy (for me) 25 life.  He drops a Great Furnace, and a Cranial Plating, and I ain't scurred cuz I have the cheater's favorite card, Swords to Plowshares.  On my turn, I play out a Dark Confidant after dropping a Mishra's Factory and pass back with my untapped dual staring ominously.  He plays Frogmite and Glimmervoid, and finally an Arcbound Worker.  When he tries to equip his 'Thopter, I Swords it.  He equips it to his Arcbound Worker.  I reveal Duress to Bob, and draw a Smother.  High fives all around for drawing like a champ!  I pass the turn back.  He swings with just his Worker, and only his worker (I probably would've swung with Froggy too).  I Smother like none other.  He hooks Froggy up with a +1/+1 counter (a good reason to keep him back I suppose?) and then hooks him up even more by Plating him up and dropping a Chromatic Star.  I revealed Samurai of the Pale Curtain then draw Cruel Edict.  I fire off an Edict, and he sacs the Froggy.  I start Bob-beatdown.  On his turn, JK plays another Seat.  I reveal a Swamp on my upkeep and play it, and attack.  I then summon a Giant Soldier, who despite his cool race/class combo, is a mere Grunt.  JK drops another Glimmervoid... tough draws for him.  I reveal another Samurai to Bob, and attack with my guys, and play a Mishra's Factory.  He scoops after taking 2 more turns of beatings.

I board in the Katakis and Disenchants, along with Smothers, while removing Avens, Hounds, and a Hymn and an Edict.  Game two,we both keep our 7.  I have a decent opener, but... no Kataki... uhoh... He drops half his hand. 
Vault of Whispers, Ornithopter, Welding Jar, and Frogmite erupt into play.  I Thoughtseize his Myr Enforcer, leaving him with less than impressive gas in the form of 2 more artifact lands.  He plays Great Furnace, and beats down.  I cast Gerrard's Verdict and get Vault and the Thoughtcast that he was going to dig out with.  I Duress him, and he burns me with Shrapnel Blast.  He attacks and I Disenchant his Frog... which he obviously regenerates with Welding Jar.  On my turn, I drop Serra Avenger, effectively stopping his beats.  He does nothing, and passes back.  I attack, then play Samurai, to close out much Ravager tricks, and to shut off Skullclamp.  I hit him with Gerrard's Verdict, and he tosses two Disciple of the Vault.  I beat down and he's done.  He must've gotten poor draws from what I saw... normally this is a tight match.

I celebrate my win, console Ozzy, discuss with Java, etc, the usual between-round stuff.  I'm almost bouncing off the walls from excitement.  Round two, FIGHT!

Round two... I'm facing an unknown-to-me player and deck.  Phaedrus is the name, and we had a blast.  He was fun to play, and enjoyable catching up with after the tournament.  We both kept, and he goes first dropping a Mountain to start things off.  I lead with Duress off a Swamp, hitting
Fireblast, leaving him with 2 Mountain, 2 Incinerate, and Lightning Bolt.  I'm in good shape so far, taking no damage from my land and hitting his big finisher.  He Bolts me at the end of my turn.  Mountain number two, and he passes back.  I play a Fetch, and pay the life for an untapped dual so I can blow up his hand with Hymn to Tourach.  In response, he nukes me with both Incinerate AND Fireblast.  Ouch.  I'm down to 7 after turn two...  He loses a Mountain and the other Incinerate due to the Hymn.  He draws and doesn't play anything.  I play a Godless Shrine tapped, and pass back.  He plays a Mountain.  I play Serra Avenger and Dark Confidant.  He comments, "And now I proceed to get whupped."  "Maybe," I reply.  He plays a Lava Spike to drop me to four, then Bob drops me to 2 with Serra Avenger.  I attack with my team, then Smother him.  He has two more draws, and doesn't get the right combination of land and burn to finish me.  I WAS holding a Swords to gain life if needed in response to his burn.

I side nothing if I recall right.  He opens with
Spark Elemental.  I play a fetch.  He suspends Rift Bolt, and Lava Spike to my face.  I'm at 14, soon to be 10.  I fetch a dual end of turn.   I play a Mishra's Factory and then Jotun Grunt enters play, ready to beat down.  He Rift Bolts me, Lava Spikes me again and let's me take my turn.  I play a Plains, and beat down.  He Bolts me end of turn.  On his turn, he plays Ball Lightning and I STP it.  I Duress him and get his Lava Spike.  Some more beat down... and he of course Fireblasts off the top.  Some good being Red sometimes.

Game Three.  We wish each other luck.  I'm on the play, he mulls to six.  Good start.  I drop a Fetch and pass.  He plays Mountain, and I crack my fetch at EOT.  I play a Swamp on my turn, and pass back.  He hits me with a
Lightning Bolt.  He plays a Mountain, and runs out a Spark Elemental that I Swords.  He burns me with a Firebolt and passes back.  I Hymn to Tourach him, and get Volcanic Hammer and Ball Lightning, then drop a fetchland again.  He passes back with no play.  I drop a Jotun Grunt down.  He suspends Rift Bolt.  I put his Firebolt back into his library with Grunt, and begin the beats, and then I drop an Grunt equal ranking in the Jotun hierarchy.  He makes no play other than to point the Rift Bolt at me.  I pay upkeep on Grunts, then he Fireblasts the newer one in response to my Duress.  I make Serra Avenger, and begin to really pressure him.  He burns her, and I drop a Samurai, still bringing the pain with the Giant.  He dies, but my Samurai is getting her/his/it (it's vague looking on the card) stabbity-stab-stab on.  I drop a Mishra's Factory, and beat with it and the Samurai.  My opponent is building up his lands again... 2 lands in play, and I'm at four.  He drops land no. 3, and drops Ball Lightning with my creatures all tapped.  GG.  I mean, cuz I had the Smother to stop the BL, and then swung for the win next turn.
Now I'm walking on air.  2-0 in my first PE!  This feels really good, and it's a nice affimation of what my testing had been telling me.  My deck is good, and I'm playing reasonably tightly with it, along with having some luck on my side so far, something no one can do without if they want to win a tournament.  My wife and our friends come over briefly, telling me I have to look away.  I tell them, "Fine, but the round is going to start soon, so I have to play..."  That's fine, I just can't look up.    

Phaedrus and I talk about what a great match we had, and I freak out to my clan-mates, who sadly can't watch the replays because... replays were off.  Mad slops for that Wizards.  I talk up my win with Java, who is laughing about the guy who lost to his own Tombstalker animated by
Animate Dead.

Round Three.  I find myself looking across the table at Javasci himself... We know each other's deck's reasonably well, having tested them some.  He's running Doomsday combo (although the exact configuration varies from day-to-day).  From testing, we know that my deck is about the roughest possible matchup for him, due to almost every card in my deck attacking his from some angle or another.  However, given a good hand, he can win through my disruption.  My keys to winning are either 2-3 discard cards to begin, or a quick Samurai of the Pale Curtain, followed up by Aven Mindcensor, or discard of course.

Game One is a rough start for Java.  I choose to go first, and my opener is fine.  His however... well, he has to mull to five.  I aim to exacerbate his condition with Duress, seeing
Gemstone Mine, Thoughtseize, Doomsday, Forbidden Orchard, and Pact of Negation.  Now, as the more agreesive player, able to attack his hand again, I want to remove any defense he might have, so I take his Thoughtseize.  He plays his Mine, and I come back with a Gerrard's Verdict.  He pitches Pact of Negation (which isn't very useful in this matchup) and Forbidden Orchard.  He plays Tendo Ice Bridge.  I play Duress for a second time this match.  I see Force of Will and Doomsday.  Doomsday is the choice here, and I grab it, then a Samurai leaps into the field of battle. RAWRRRR.  He Thoughtseizes my Aven Mindcensor, which is irritating, because with Samurai, he combines to form a near-lock against this deck.  I reveal a Swords to Plowshares also.  From here, I beat down with a Fox and, and then a Giant, and win.

Game two is more of the same.  Java has to mull to oblivion (Oblivion being 3 in this case.  No more and no less.).  From my sideboard I have gained knowledge of enchanted Leylines that prevent my opponent from ever remembering or accessing his old knowledge, and I obviously have one in my opener, for the turn 0 graveyard-block.  Java has land for his first two drops, while I put out a large legendary pet dog.  On my second turn, I Verdict him, and he responds by Tutoring in a very Mystical manner, grabbing a Doomsday and hiding it as his next thought, and discarding Forgotten Orchard.  My animal friend lunges, snapping and clawing.  I then come to another Verdict, causing him to forget all about an imminent Day of Doom.  I drop down a Samurai of the Pale Curtain, locking up his graveyard, and then continue to eat his hand.  He concedes with no outs facing lethal damage.

Adrenaline is flying through my veins!  THREE - OH!  Negative thoughts abound however as I got here in a slightly lame manner, not really having a "fair" match with Java.  I sympathize with his poor draws, and we wish each other luck.  I feel pretty good about his chances to come back.  at 3-0, I'm pretty much guaranteed prizes, since it pays out to the top 32, and there's only something like 48 people playing... I'm pretty sure I will get to cash in on some goodies, but as Raddman found out, even 9 points and being comfortably in the top 16 doesn't QUITE guarantee you anything... MTGO can be lame sometimes.  For reference, read the bottom of this post.  Http://www.magiceternal.com/forum/index.php?topic=111.0

Our intrepid hero, after much celebration, prepares for round 4 with a pop, a Mountain Dew if I recall correctly.  We're paired and seated, and what do you know?  Another person I've tested the deck with quite a bit, in this case, good man and crazy animal, TheWilddog.  He goes first, he mulls to 6, I keep, and we start.  He lays a Fetch.  I lay the same, Flooded Strand all around.  He cracks it, and plays a Nimble Mongoose, his best card against me in this matchup.  Right now it is a simple 1/1 but it is dangerous.  He says, "this is such a hor match up for me," and while I say that it isn't that bad, inside my head I agree.  I won almost every game against UG/r Thresh in testing, and assuming both players play tightly, B/W should have the advantage.  On my second turn, I play a Plains and Duress him, and he gives me a look at Fire/Ice, Tarmogoyf, who is really weak in this matchup, Werebear, same as Goyf, and Lightning Bolt.  I want to remove his removal/burn, and F/I can be pitched to FoW also, so I grab it.  I follow up with Isamaru, Hound of Konda.  He raises a small Mountain to access mana of the Red sort, then follows up with a large Llurgoyf, an odd, twisted fellow.  I am not impressed.  I convert his funny-looking fellow to a life of tending crops with STP and follow that by passing down Chainer's Edict to my opponent, which required the sacrifice of his only remaining creature.  I then let him have it from my Pooch.  He drops another Goyf, to which I say, "2goyfs is cheats."  I untap and Smother that thing while it's still ill and weak from summoning, then beat down some more.  He drops a Werebear, not fully grown.  I attack with Izzy and a Factory.  He takes, and then does nothing on his turn.  I dig into his hand, attemping to Cashseize.  He takes a Mental Note, and like the dummy I am, I let it resolve, along with a Lightning Bolt targetting Izzy before I remember to STP his Bear... which he prevents by pure Force of Will.  Sometimes I'm just dumb. I make him discard a second Lightning Bolt and his hand is empty.  He beats on me with the greatest flavor text of all-time.  I Smother the Bear.  He passes back without a play.  I try to show him a picture of Gerrard chopping into Urza (I think?) and he Fires me in response, then pitches a Stifle.  I draw, and play Jotun Grunt to both beat down AND ruin his Threshiness, then beat down with a Factory.  He drops another Nimble Mongoose, and I pass on another Edict, and my Soldier goes all the way.

Game two, he mulls to 6 again, then plays a Forest into a Nimble Mongoose.  Great.  I play a Plains.  He attacks me after playing an Island.  I play a Swamp, and Duress him, to which he responds with a Brainstorm.  He lets me see his hand, and I grab a Fire, and leave Brainstorm, Krosan Grip, and Wooded Foothills.  He plays the Foothills and then a Mental Note, and beats down.  I Duress him again, and he cracks his Foothills to cast Brainstorm.  After it resolves, I see Tarmogoyf, Breeding Pool, and Breeding Pool and I whiff.  Mishra's Factory joins my resources, and then a Jotun Grunt, destroyer of Thresholds!  He plays Brainstorm on his turn, then the Goyf and a Flooded Strand to shuffle away his Breeding Pools that he put back with Brainstorm.  I Verdict him on my turn, getting his last two cards; Fire/Ice and a useless Krosan Grip.  I pass back, and he passes back.  I go on the aggressive with my Grunt.  He takes it.  He attacks with his 2 guys, no Threshold.  I try to flash out an Aven Mindcensor to catch his Mongoose, but he burns it with Lightning Bolt.  I block with my face.  I play another Mishra's Factory and ANOTHER Verdict, gaining a little life when he discards a Polluted Delta.  

I turn on my first Factory, and attack for 6 along-side my Grunt.  He takes, then plays my favorite piece of Thresh Tech against aggro, Troll Ascetic.  He keeps his guys home.  I play a Fetch and Dark Confidant.  His turn.  He attacks with Troll.  I break my Fetch, getting a Plains, and turn on a factory to block.  I pump it up, and he regens his Troll, so neither of us drop a card.  He then plays Stomping Ground, having learned his lesson about Gerrard's Verdict.  I reveal Smother to Bob, and target his Tarmogoyf.  I then attack with Bob and Mr. Maher hit him in the gut, as his Troll is tapped due to attacking last turn, and he's not ready to lose his Mongoose.  He plays Portent, and I flash in an Aven Mindcensor, giving me a flying edge.  I reveal Duress to Bob, and then cast it, getting the only card in his hand, a Spell Snare.  I turn  on my Factories, and attack with all 4 guys for the win.  This is another match where it's nice to have basics to pull out, and the removal you run and the Jotun Grunts all attack his plan.  It's a nice matchup to get at this point.

Troll Ascetic

Cool Thresh Tech

Afterwards, Java comments that everyone in the 1-x and worse bracket's mistake was to not play Flash.  I'm getting congrats from Clannies, and confirm that 4-0 will let me draw into top 8.  I'm estatic, hardly daring to hope that I'd be in this position to start the tourney.  Winston Smith and I are two of the three 4-0s, and we draw in round 5.  Round six is more of the same (drawing) and I finish in 3rd after the Swiss.  

In my first game of the top 8, I get blown out by the Affinity draw.  Thommo has the "Empty your hand by turn 2" draw.  Yea.  But I'm cool.  I side in my Disenchants, Smothers, Katakis.  We get into a standoff in game two, were my troops are holding off his, and my Samurai of the Pale Curtain is fouling up his ability to combo me out with Ravager/Disciple AND his Blinkmoth Nexus x 3 are holding off my Serra Avenger and Aven.  I have 14 outs left in 40 cards.  He has 3, being his Smothers (he already Smothered one Samurai).   All I need is another Samurai to double my GY hate, or a piece of removal to blow away his Ravager or a Blinkmoth (when I attack with Serra) or a Kataki... I see none of these and he obviously resolved 2
Thoughtcast, which of course get him both the Black mana AND the Smother needed to off my Samurai.  I'm angry for a bit, but that's Magic, right?  And he did see 4 more cards than I, I suppose.

So, I make a glorious run to the Top 8, then flame out in Match One.  I was really down for a bit, but then I got my packs, sold them, and finished putting together my FoW set... good times.  I found out later that Thommo won the whole event, which was slightly frustrating, but also a consolation.  He beat a Dredge deck in the finals also, which isn't the easiest matchup for his deck.  Why couldn't I have faced dredge?  Sigh... But seriously, try the deck out, it can perform.

Props- Java for the encourage and the Katakis.  Clannies for rooting for me, and Ozzymage for playing in the PE, sorry it was a rough one Oz.  Wizards for hosting a 3X for 4 tix.  My opponents for all being very sportsman-like, even Thommo when I complained about my draws compared to his game two.  Heath for his site supporting our favorite card-game and hooking me up with tix quickly prior to the PE so I could enter.

Slops-Affinity, 'nuff said.  MTGO for timing people out with T16 points.  The Top8 payout being in MED and the next 24 being in LRW.  Why do we get the cheaper packs?  Kinda weak. 

Matchup-wise, here's how you break down:

RDW-Very close, utilize your basics off of fetchs, remember to Swords your own guy if you need to, Verdict before you Hymn, and remember to leave removal mana open to torch their hastey dudes.  This is a matchup you can win quite a bit more if you play 10-15 times over a few days and get the feel of when to play Dark Confidant, when to hold back, etc.  Generally a 50% matchup.

Stiflenought-Pretty easy matchup.  60%ish You hit them with discard just for tradition's sake, as all your removal hits their guys.  Get rid of their Blue cards (Counters, Stifles, etc) and you should be able to beat them down.

Flash-Fairly easy matchup, although they can still get the "Turn one win on the play" hand.  60%+. Game one, if you KNOW they're playing it, looking for a hand with either 2-3 pieces of discard, or some combination of discard, Samurai, and Aven Mindcensor.  Game two side in Leyline and mull to it UNLESS you have a hand with 2-3 of the cards that we mentioned from game one, and a turn one discard is essential then.

Affinity-Not a great matchup, but you have good removal, and post-board Kataki helps a lot.  Probably slightly favorable for them, around 45%ish.

Zoo-You handle them pretty easily, since you have the right removal for almost every creature, have Dark Confidant to give you extra cards (although he can cause you to be burnt out... sometime might be worth siding out), and you have flyers to break up ground stalls.

Doomsday-Easier than Flash, maybe your best matchup.  Just play out any hand with 2-4 lands, as virtually every card you can play will be disruptive.  Game 2, get those Leylines. 75%+.

Dredge-I haven't been able to test this matchup, apparently it's pretty unpopular... until tournament day.  You have the right cards to fight them with Samurai, discard (for their enablers) and Jotun Grunt, but you're probably still a dog game one.  Game two the addition of the Leylines should give you a healthy advantage.  I'm pretty sure it's about even overall.

Since then, I've continued testing, and determined the weak spots in the deck.  Isamaru and Aven Mindcensor are the cards I side out most often.  Null Rod should be in the side for Kataki, possibly as a 4x.  Dodecapod was cute in the sideboard, but really janky, and not really useful.  
Chains of Mephistopheles is worth considering against anything that likes to draw cards.  Jitte is something to consider, and would've been better than soem of my sideboard stuff.  I know Uncle.Istvan was testing the white Pulse as anti-RDW tech, and Dark Ritual with Hypnotic Specter to give the deck a little more explosiveness.  He should have played it in this week's PE by the time this is up, so hopefully I'm not giving away his strategy.  Finally, some amount of Tombstalker is probably a good idea, even if it's just in the sideboard, probably 2-3.  He's SOOO good, and you can side out Bob vs aggro to side him in.  I don't think I'll be able to play in the PE, as I'll be in the middle of working 7 nights in a row, but the PE after is looking good.  If anyone has any questions, or suggestions, I'm Walkerdog on MTGO.  I'll be back soon with more Classic deckbuilding and strategy.


Pick up your Force of Wills ASAP.  I know you've probably heard it already, but they're going quickly, and the price is rising.  Worse yet, MED will be going out of print very soon, cutting off the supply of new FoWs to the pool.  What's out there now is what's out there forever, from what we've been told.  There very well may be qualifiers for MED pools later on, but this seems to be it.  If you're interested in any format using the Classic pool, get'em while you can.  Don't let hoarders hose you by having go to them later when they have artificially inflated the price. 


Oh man I'm dumb by walkerdog at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 22:07
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Ok I know where "Pale Ale" came from.  It was a beer from back home and I saw it on the same menu as Deadguy Ale, and transposed them together.  I dunno HOW I managed to do that.

Pale Ale by iceage4life at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 18:39
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I think Worth's point is BW Pikula style decks are Rogue Deadguy Ale.  No idea where Pale Ale came from.  Kinda like burn decks being called RDW...  For an eternal format Classic players sure don't know what to call decks :)

heh by Worth (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 03:44
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Good article. :) It was rogue Deadguy Ale, though...not pale ale.

And as far as duals in MED 2, yeah...they'll be there...but I'm not at all sure the complete 10 will be. :)

Honestly, that's mostly in R&D's hands.

Pale Ale/Deadguy by walkerdog at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 07:24
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I know, it's not REAL Pale Ale :).  But I really like Pikula's old tournament report, deck, and deck name, so as a tribute I barned the name.  If all 10 duals are not in MED2, this opens us up to a Rav/GPT/DIS distribution style possibly?  Could we get all the blue ones or most of them in the first two sets so that 2 of the 4 aren't horribly underopened?

Thanks by walkerdog at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 08:36
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Thanks for the feedback.  The large paragraph is bad, I'll see if I can touch it up a little more today.  I guess I could've put more testing info in, but I was kinda running long already, however, it's a fair request.  I'll keep working to improve.

by Raddman (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 01/09/2008 - 10:41
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Lesson has been learned.  I was a little upset when I was auto-dropped, but you live and learn.  Next time I will follow my own rules and not play in a PE that I know I can't complete.  Great article!!!

by Javasci at Tue, 01/08/2008 - 21:56
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As a PE walkthrough, great article.  As a deck analysis, you really need more and/or more detailed testing.  Speaking of which, I need to do that.

This is about, basically, what I just said.

One thing I didn't like was that really long paragraph in the middle.  You should (in my opinion) never do that, and I really have to start taking the advice I just gave.

By the way, don't concern yourself about my bad draws, that tends to happen when I play combo decks.

On a more positive note, the story was very well told.

by Ferrers at Tue, 01/08/2008 - 04:08
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Really nice article bud.

 Whats been your testing vs Pure Monoblack Discard and Pox?

 Grunt Def looks a V solid creature in the graveyard tastic decks in this weekends PE.

BW vs Mono-black variants by walkerdog at Tue, 01/08/2008 - 07:10
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The matchup against Mono-black variants is pretty decent, since you do have access to better creatures in general, however, sometimes they get that Duress, into Smallpox, into Smallpox, into the Rack and Duress -type hand.  Monoblack has game, and it comes down to playing skill on both sides (as with any matchup I guess), being smart with your lands (don't crack fetchs until after they Pox or whatever, to leave lands in your deck to draw later) and oftentimes, who gets off the first Duress/Thoughseize to protect their hand.

Duals by walkerdog at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 13:48
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Sorry Danger, it had been confirmed to my satisfaction after the article was writting, and I should probably edit that section.  Yes, all 10 duals have been confirmed to be printed, and what not, and I'm planning on spending lots on MEDII drafts because of this.  Pulse of the Fields is pretty good, although I went a different route (maybe worse).  Tombstalker is BOMB, and I run 2 MD nowadays.  I've yet to take a Flip8, although I'm sure I have one coming someday.

Children by walkerdog at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 14:33
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You have one darling little one already... sell the other, buy her a puppy and blow the rest on MEDII.  I mean... work some overtime at work I guess.  Heh.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 18:39
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Sulfuric Vortex and/or Flames of the Blood hand can be used to combat Pulse of the Fields.

Flames of the Blood Hand by iceage4life at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 21:39
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Flames of the Blood Hand is a very weak answer to Pulse of the Feilds, more-so if your opponent knows you run it.  Vortex is probably the best answer but you have to draw it and get it to stick.

Duals by dangerlinto at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 14:24
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Yeah the turnaround time was a little late.  You're forgiven. : ) 

MED II will be the bees knees.  I already told my wife under no cirumstances would I not be spending my extra money on it.  Nuts to the 2nd child, right?!

by urzishra14 at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 12:31
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great article.. seems like a deck i would enjoy playing...


Duals by dangerlinto at Mon, 01/07/2008 - 12:49
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"This will change as duals are printed in MED2, but I wonder if all ten duals will be ran out in that set, or maybe just allied colors... "

How many times does worth have to confirm this for you?  All 10 Dual Lands wil be in MED II

As for Tombstalker - he is a bomb, eh? :)  Just about as broken as Tarmogoyf, and great against it too.  I depeding on your number or your usef of SDT, you might be able to put it in without taking Bob out.

And Pulse of the Fields, for the most part, RDW just scoops to.  I watched it happen twice on the 6th. RDW needs to come up with some tech for that.

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