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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Saffi and the Champion
February 26, 2010

Dear BMoor,

Hello! My name is Marcus and I have recently turned to Magic after leaving it a little while after Dissension was released. Returning to the game I automatically got back into the Ravnica block, but began researching cards from new releases. One guild I definitely loved was Orzhov, particularly for the combos that Teysa, Orzhov Scion could work in (it's the main focus of this deck). And so after much research and debate over what to keep in, this is what I have put together (keep in mind that this deck isn't actually constructed yet, so your fixes/opinion will be greatly appreciated). An explanation for the deck will follow.

Sorcery/Instants - 12
4 Demonic Tutor – Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic
4 Wrath of God – 10th Edition
4 Mortify - Guildpact

Lands – 21
4 Godless Shrine - Guildpact
4 Overgrown Tomb - Ravnica
4 Temple Garden - Ravnica
3 Swamp – Ravnica
3 Forest – Ravnica
3 Plains – Ravnica

Others - 2
2 Grave Pact – Planechase

Creatures - 25
4 Birds of Paradise – Ravnica
3 Soul Warden – Planechase
3 Saffi Eriksdotter – Time Spiral
3 Crypt Champion - Dissension
2 Teysa, Orzhov Scion - Guildpact
4 Nether Traitor – Time Spiral
4 Watchwolf - Ravnica
2 Loxodon Hierarch - Ravnica

The deck's first combo and focus is this: Have a Saffi Eriksdotter and Teysa, Orzhov Scion in play. Bring out Crypt Champion (without paying a red mana) and sac Saffi for her effect before Champion's dies (I believe the last in/first out rule makes this possible). This creates a creature loop so that Crypt Champion is being sent to the grave, making a white spirit token by Teysa's effect. Saffi's effect brings him back (allowing Champion to target Saffi when he's brought into play since she's converted cost 3 or less). This repeats so that any number of tokens can be brought out for a kill - or - complete board removal of creatures of any number of opponents.

Another combo is using Saffi, Champion, and a Soul Warden in play for infinite life. Having Grave Pact in play also means you can just destroy your opponents creatures if you choose rather than remove them while the creature loop is going.

The creature choice, apart from the combo pieces are Birds of Paradise for mana acceleration, Nether Traitor and Watchwolf as beatsticks, and Loxodon Hierarch as a big beatstick (and some nice life gain).

The Mortifies and Wraths are for clearing out the opponent's side in the event I need to stall, and the Tutor's are to shimmy my combo pieces of choice to my hand.
And finally, the mana base. Seeing as it has 12 Dual Lands I didn't find it necessary to put in pain lands (Brushland, Llanowar Wastes, Caves of Koilos), and this deck is pricey as it is.
So, any input?
____________________________________________________________

Well, Marcus, I'm glad you brought this deck to me. This is a very good deck already, but it does raise an important aspect of building decks and understanding how to play them. You see, Marcus, this deck is not in fact focused on Teysa, Orzhov Scion. You described to me two combos. Only one of them used Teysa, but both of them used the Saffi Eriksdottr/Crypt Champion interaction. I'd say Saffi and the Champion are your real main focus.

And since that's the case, you're going to need to run four copies each of the two of them. Your tutors definitely help, but a few copies of Congregation at Dawn would be lovely, getting you all three of Saffi, Crypt Chapion, and Teysa in one go. Granted, it reveals them and then puts them on top fo your library, so you're opponent will know what you're about before you've even drawn the combo, but you do guarantee you'll draw it.

Speaking of drawing cards, I'd also recommend Fecundity. First, it'l help you draw into combo pieces as your Watchwolves and such chump block. Second, once you've got Saffi and teh Champion active, you can start going off and draw as many cards as you want, until you find Teysa or whatever else you need.

Speaking of whatever else you need to make Saffi and the Champion's dance of lfe and death profitable, I see you already have Soul Warden and Death Pact in addition to Teysa. Death Pact is nice, but a little tough to pull off in a three-color deck, and of limited usefulness compared to Teysa or Soul Warden-- it only makes sense to run the combo as many times as your opponent has creatures left, you know? But if you're in the market for some other alternate win conditions, and you will be if anyone in your playgroup runs Extirpate or Cranial Extraction, you could also try Genesis Chamber, for infinite colorless tokens, Cream of the Crop, which is really better for finding the combo than for exploiting once you've got it unless you add Fecundity, and Juniper Order Ranger, for an arbitrarily large creature. Heck, if you've got room, you could easily slide one copy of each in there, since it doesn't really matter which one you draw once Saffi and the Champion go live. I personally like Genesis Chamber, since it's a colorless card in a deck with some touchy color requirements.

But then, you do have a full 12 shocklands and Birds of Paradise, so color shouldn't be an issue for you. I agree with you in that you don't need any more dual lands.

Try the deck out with the alterations I've suggested and see how it plays, Marcus. I don't think I made the color requirements any worse, but if you find yourself getting colorscrewed, you may want to go heavier on Genesis Chambers, and perhaps consider removing Teysa altogether. Casting Saffi on turn two and Teysa on turn three is a tall order for any land base, and it is important to know at all times which of your cards are the irreplaceable ones.

Good luck,

~BMoor

 

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