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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Apr 21 2008 11:06pm
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I'm really looking forward to Shadowmoor coming out to MTGO.  I missed my prerelease this past weekend with what could only be described as a severe muscle pull in my back, and while I am still recovering from that, sitting down, or lifting my son or breathing has actually been a pain.  I was really frustrated by not being able to go as well.  See this Friday is my birthday, and I really just wanted to be around my friends, (some of which I have not seen since the last Prerelease in Kentucky.) and I wanted to relax.

Instead I got to sit around, under heavy medication.  Not as fun as one would expect, but not as terrible either. 

So, I sat around in pain all week, waiting for MTGO to come back online.  While I have given my thoughts about the program on the offical message boards of Wizards of the Coast, I have said my piece.  What we have here with version 3 is a perfectly servicable program that will let us do what we want to do while they work out the bugs.  (That after all, is to play Magic.  Also of note, I've been logged on all day today, and not once has the server crashed.  In fact, the only "crashes" that I know of have been caused by WOTC.  Maybe there is some stability in these servers after all!)

My issues now are the fact that while I have pretty much every deck that I want to play in Standard and Block (Well, I do not have Browbeats.) I am really bored of both formats.  I need Shadowmoor to come along now!   While I am waiting for the new hotness to come out, I have started to work on a format that I thought would never be anything more than a fun diversion.  Classic is of course that format. 

I have not played much of the format, and my one expirence of tournament play ended up with me going 3-3 with a version of Dragon Stompy that LargeBrandon had worked on.  Something about that format (and the success of our own Walkerdog.) made me want to play it. 

It made me want to be good. 

Now, there is a good chance that I will never own Deeds, Mages, Vindicates or Chants on MTGO.  There is a strong chance that Force of Will will also be outside of my budget.  Of course those things change.  I may hit it big on stocks, or win the lottery, but even with those two life changing events (Of course, I could actually *Finish* school.) I have bigger plans with that money than to buy some digital objects. 

Regardless of my ramblings, I wanted to dive into Classic, knowing that some card issues will be brought to the forefront of my collection. 

1.  I do not own playsets of several key rares.  That's right, and I've mentioned it before, I do not have the power four of MTGO (Those being the expensive IPA rares.  You could make a case for Vampiric Tutor Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish and Tarmogoyf as well, but I actually have the Tutor and the Goyf.  That has to be a good start right?)

2.  I do not own playsets of several of the key uncommons.  Swords to Plowshares is the one card that springs forth to my mind, and I am sure that I am missing some others, (Standstill perhaps?).  However, these uncommons (Outside of Fact or Fiction) are pretty cheap to complete a set of, often times going for the same cost of a booster pack. 

3.  I am missing maybe the best library manipulation spell in the client.  Yeah, I do not have Brainstorm.  I also do not have Dark Rituals.  If these three things are my biggest worries, than maybe I am doing something right.

With that being said, I decided to look through my collection, and see what I had to work with. 

I have a playset of Standard, (without the Browbeats.) and pretty much any Future Extended (That being Onslaught and further) deck that I could want to build.  In fact really, I guess I could build anything servicable.  A couple of cards caught my eye, and I remember testing in real life a deck that had caught on in the paper magic world.  My team mate would often times cast a (Quiron Dryad) and then go nuts with Gush and Daze.  Gro A Tog (GAT for short.) was that deck.  He would make a giant man, protect it with cheap counterspells and bash face.  It was pretty solid, and I believe the creator of that deck made day two of a rather large European Grand Prix when everything was legal in that Extended format. 

With that in mind, I set out to build a copy of GAT for MTGO.  This is the first draft that I came up with.

The first thing that should jump out to you should be the distinct lack of Quirion Dryad.  Turns out that with Daze or Gush to help you out here, the Dryad is just a lackluster man.  At least in the Green Red version you can cast the Dryad, burn their face for three and attack for two.  In my opinion the time may not be right for the creature in the format.

So what did I do to replace them?  Well, I really liked the idea of a threshold style deck.  I really have a soft spot in my heart for Werebear.  I mean mana guys should not be giant 4/4 beasts for two mana.  This version seemed to be really good.  It was winning a lot more than it was losing, but something about the list just seemed loose.  It was not really true to my original plan, and there really a lot of random stuff in the deck.  I mean come on now, one Careful Study and one random Urza's Bauble?  The deck clearly needs to be tightened up a bit.

With that in mind I sat back down and made a list of cards that I just had to play with.  Let's take a look at that list shall we?

Dark Confidant.  This is one of the best card advantage machines in the game today.  He is a cheap aggresive creature, who also just happens to have one of the most killer abilities.  He has to be a four of, because I want to cast him early, and take advantage of the draw engine.  

Tarmogoyf:  If Quirion Dryad is not going to work, then this guy should be awesome.  His growth is not directly related to the amount of spells you cast, but the type and also counts the spells that your opponent plays.  He is the best creature in the game right now in my opinion.  He is also going to be a four of.

Psychatog:  With this man, my creature base should be set.  He helps fed Tarmogoyf, and can trade with just about every other creature that sees play in the format.  His inclusion as a three of gives me eleven creatures that I am not sad to have on my team. 

Spells that I want to play with

Brainstorm:  This is going to be a fetch land heavy deck featuring at least seven.  However, since I do not actually own them that is going to be a dream right now.  Looks like Opt will have to fit in here. 

Counterspell:  Not only do I want the original awesome Counterspell, but I want to run Spell Snare and Force Spike as well.  Spell Snare is just so good against the field stopping stuff like Flash (They always have the Force of Will though.) and opposing Goyfs and Confidants. 

Stifle:  I feel like this is an underused card.  It can effectivly counter a Fetch land.  It can stop the Hulk trigger from resolving.  It's just a very good card.

Hand Disruption:  I do not want much but I do want Thoughtseize  It's better than Duress since it can grab more stuff, and the life loss is really nominal in most cases.

That pretty much covers everything that I just have to play with.  With that in mind, I came up with this deck list:

I can hear it now, this deck is not really original, and I am okay with that.  I looked over many Legacy decklists in order to draw inspiration for the list here.  Still I think I am missing out on something.  There may be a lack of removal in the main, and seeing how some of the cards like Sleight of Hand and Serum Visions are kinda clunky, Smother and Ghastly Demise may end up being a bit better. 

Regardless, my shift is about to start.  I'm going to be playing this in the first Classic PE when those events come back online, so hopefully next week, I will have a killer tournament report for you!  Thanks for reading! 


Main Deck Stifle by JXClaytor at Wed, 04/23/2008 - 16:29
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I have found the stifles to be very good.  They range on being a blow out to a one mana land destruction spell.



by JXClaytor at Wed, 04/23/2008 - 16:30
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I think I might have fixed some of the issues with the new update.   

by iceage4life at Wed, 04/23/2008 - 14:24
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I've found random maindeck Stifles to be awful.  But yeah I see no reason to run this over Thresh.  That said making a deck that beats Thresh is not too hard.

by JXClaytor at Tue, 04/22/2008 - 09:51
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I deleted a comment on here about ponder being better than brainstorm because you could shuffle them away.


But with Brainstorm you get the stuff that makes ponder good and protects your hand from Thoughtsieze and instant speed.


I think that is my arguement.

Sorry about deleting your comment.     :(      

by Raddman (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/22/2008 - 17:23
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The problem with the current Meta(if you call it a problem) is that Thresh seems to be the superior deck choice when compared to GAT.

 Like many decks in the meta it appears yours would fail to RDW quite frequently.  Come on Duals!

I am not sure about the 4x moxes, you are running 19 lands without them, for some reason they seem out of place to me.  I like the surprise stifle idea but with only 2x I would prefer to include less 1,2,3 ofs and more counter abilities or card advantage to protect your creatures.  I agree with the previous posters that your deck screams for Brainstorm (only 2-3 tix for 4x) or ponder.  I would cut fire/ice personally and go with bolts for more removal.

One of the biggest problems I see is you have no way to deal with an opponents goyf if it hits the board.  Even your sideboard has no inclusion of shackles or threads.

by GordonP at Mon, 04/21/2008 - 23:32
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I'd look at adding Ponder to this deck.

Lightning bolt could also be possible removal since you're already playing red.

Other than that, good article.

by JXClaytor at Mon, 04/21/2008 - 23:50
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Ponder:  Is it better than Brainstorm?


Is it worth having the red for Fire and Grudge over no red and black removal?     

Brainstorms by Arnnaria at Tue, 04/22/2008 - 00:07
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JX, you can borrow my brainstorms.

by JXClaytor at Tue, 04/22/2008 - 00:12
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Thank you,


I am going to have a set before the week is out, so I shold be fine      

classic time by DRAGONDUNG at Tue, 04/22/2008 - 09:29
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it really is a great time to get into classic although before the spike in force of will would have been better.  As it is though there are still many quality cards selling very cheap right now.  The power four will not be all that important to tell you the truth once they rotate out of extended classic has very little use for them.  I would concentrate on the staples for anyone looking to break into classic.  Vamp, LED, STP, Tarmo (it will be a staple if not already), lightning bolt, brainstorm (yes better than ponder Instant speed more useful esp in control match ups) there are more too but im tied up with other projects and very little time

your deck you may want to add beserk,  great way to end a game quick if it sticks.  Esp on a pumped atog.