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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Cal's U/B Madness deck
January 18, 2010

Hey Bmoor, I saw your request for deck lists in your latest posting and figured I'd answer the call.

 

Madness was probably the first actual mechanic I ever designed a deck for and I love the idea of breaking the basic rule concepts to crush opponents. I studied your fix of a red/black madness deck back in 07 and I definitely agreed with all your critiques. However, to me, I definitely prefer the idea of a blue/black madness deck. Blue offers discard cards that promote card draw and they're cheaper to play then cards like trespasser il vec. So here's my deck list designed (almost) for extended play.

 

Spells:20

Creatures: 16

Blue: 14

Black: 22

Circular Logic: 4

Big Game Hunter: 2

Dark Withering: 4

Gorgon Recluse: 4

Infernal Tutor: 4

Vexing Sphinx x2

Merfolk Looter x4

Oblivion Crown x4

Thought Courier x4

Zombie Infestation x4

Underground River x3

Jwar Isle Refuge x3

Cephalid Coliseum x4

8 swamps

6 Islands

 

The deck runs great! I have problems with black decks (faced a b/w life gain deck that pretty much made gorgon recluse and dark withering irrelevant) but thus far, I have few complaints. Oblivion Crown gives me the ability to turn any of my creatures instantly into psychatog or wild mongrel, and for the most part i don't have a problem drawing one (though if I don't get one, my infernal tutor essentially becomes useless).

 

Well, the big issue, as you may have guessed, is Circular Logic and Zombie Infestation. I love both cards to death, but they aren't legal in extended play. Usually I just play with my friends so it's not a problem, but I kind of want to try some sort of tournament style, though I really don't know that much about it.

 

So I come on hands and knees to you seeking your guidance! Circular Logic is an amazing counterspell for 1 mana! And I am very concerned about how my deck will run without it. Zombie Infestation is just freakin awesome, but at least its not as necessary to my overall strategy.

 

Though please don't limit yourself to just those 8 cards, if you see anywhere else my deck could improve I'm all ears. I know you're likely going to have a problem with vexing sphinx, truth be told, its 50/50 whether he helps or hurts me in play. Still, I am partial to him, I like to have one awesome rare that I can turn to when the game is on the line.  A 4/4 flying for three mana with a useful draw ability when he goes to the grave yard is useful even if he eats at my hand far beyond what I need to run madness. Psychatog is out because he essentially duplicates what I have with Oblivion Crown. I've considered mindless automaton, 1 extra mana and colorless at that, but I HATE paying more then the discard price for madness abilities. It defeats the purpose of madness as far as I'm concerned.  I reaaaaaaaaaaally miss Putrid Imp, 1 mana for all the discarding I could ever desire.

 

That's probably another large problem with this deck, no first turn drops. I've got nothing on how to fix that either. It is an issue against burn decks, but my deck is really mana efficient too, so its not something I lose sleep over

 

I'm also curious as to what hellbent cards I might've missed and I have not really looked at threshold at all.

 

So: In summary:

 

1.I want to make the deck legal for extended

2. I'm most concerned about losing circular logic, even though I know it has to go.

2. I'm curious about how to solve issues with Vexing Sphinx.

3. I'd like to know if there are any first turn drops I should be playing?

4. I'd also like to know if there are any hellbent or threshold cards I should run.

5. Help with a sideboard would be really nice too, but I don't want to get greedy.

 

Thanks so much

 

Cal

----

Well, I know why most people in Odyssey Block made their madness decks blue and green. Green had Wild Mongrel for free discarding and aggro and Basking Rootwalla to be cast for free, and Blue had plenty of card draw to refill the tank after you'd discarded everything else. But I agree with you, Cal. When Time Spiral Block put Madness in Black's slice of the pie, blue and black became a much more sensible combination.

I also agree that Putrid Imp will be sorely missed, but fear not. There are still ways to discard cards for free. As you yourself seem to have learned with playsets of both Merfolk Looter and Thought Courier, the discarding is not only better when you're drawing to make up for it, but when you're not spending mana to do the discarding. However, I'm not convinced that eight 1/1's whose only purpose is to tap for an extra draw and a discard is what you really need. In fact, I think I have an upgrade for you-- Looter il-Kor. This Kor functions just like his Merfolk colleague, except that he only uses his ability on your combat phase, and he deals one damage when he uses it. Wouldn't you like your Looters b
etter if they did damage while they sifted cards for you? And after all, it's not like they're going to get blocked any time soon, right? Even better, Looter il-Kor makes an excellent target for Oblivion Crown, since the extra damage is pretty much always going to push through.

But first, we need to replace Circular Logic and Zombie Infestation, and it won't be easy. For Circular Logic, we need a counterspell. One that doesn't cost much mana, can target any spell, and isn't likely to fail. Boy, that's a stumper. The best I can come up with is Mana Leak-- not too much more expensive that a Mad Circular Logic, and will stop spells almost as often. But for Zombie Infestation? I sort of want to suggest Nihilistic Glee, since it can drain life at the cost of cards, and then let you pay life to draw more cards. But you have to pay mana to use the discarding ability, so as a madness outlet, I'm not Mad about it. I don't want to let this fix end without mentioning Gibbering Descent, since it works so nicely with Vexing Sphinx, and is itself a Madness card, but at four mana (six unless you already have a means of discarding it), it might be too slow. And the discard comes on your upkeep, not whenever you want like with the Infestation. Gibbering Descent does have the advantage, however, of making your opponent discard and lose life as well, and they probably aren't as poised to take advantage of it as you are.

I liked the looks of both Macabre Waltz
and Ideas Unbound for this deck. Macabre Waltz can bring back two dead creatures and then let you pay one for cheap, making it like Zombify and Raise Dead all in one. And Ideas Unbound just makes me grin-- getting three cards, then casting them all for cheap with no drawback. But those are both one-shot effects. Worse, you have to pay for them the same turn you cast the cards they make you discard.

Finally, there's Razormane Masticore. Like Vexing Sphinx and Gibbering Descent, the discard comes on your upkeep, right after you've untapped and have all your mana to work with. Like Vexing Sphinx, you get an impressively sized, aggressively costed creature along with it. And like Vexing Sphinx, the synergy with Gibbering Descent is delightful. The Masticore's "3 damage" ability triggers on the draw step, so if you skip your upkeep, you get the 3 damage without having to discard for it.

But moving on, there are a few more issues I want to discuss with you if you're taking this to Extended. First of all, Extended is a FAST format. Most notable are the Zoo decks (basically fast aggro) and the Dark Depths decks (capable of producing a Marit Lage token on turn two). The best thing I can suggest against Marit Lage is Repeal, which can obliterate any token and draw you a card for one mana. But against the Zoo decks, I'm not sure what to do. Oona's Gatewarden might help hold off opponents long enough for you to start casting on the cheap, but your creatures will be pretty heavily out matched soon enough. Big Game Hunter is only a 1/1, and Zoo's creatures don't always have 4 power. Then there's the issue of them using Grove of the Burnwillows to recur their Punishing Fires. To stop that, you'd need Hinder, or something equivalent.

Here's where I have to level with you, Cal. I don't play in Extended tournaments. My expertise of tourney formats is limited to Standard, Booster Draft, and Cube. So I can't really profess to tell you what it'll take to win there. But just like the rest of my deck fixes, the best thing you can ultimately do for yourself is to give the deck a spin, and see for yourself what you need to do to win.

Good luck!

~BMoor

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes