Attention to Detail #14
The Best Laid Plans
by Jordan Kronick
March 31, 2006
Of late here on Attention
to Detail, I've been talking a lot about drafting and other
sanctioned events, with an eye on skills useful for
tournament play. I had intended to continue that trend with
a whole lot of information on proper sideboarding in limited
environments, this week. However, that's going to have to
wait for another week. I'm sure there's a huge outcry
against that, since I know how much everyone loves a dry
subject like sideboarding.
Instead, I've got to talk about my new pet project. It's a
casual deck. As one person observed earlier tonight, I'm not
often seen playing casual. I definitely tend to stick to the
more “serious” side of the game. I'd like to say it's just
because I have an aptitude for tournament play, but the
prizes are a huge part of it too. Lately I've been doing
very well in the drafting tables of Magic Online, so I
thought I'd take some time off and try to not push my luck
too much. The first thing I did was to put together a silly
little block constructed deck. Not to abandon my roots
entirely, it was definitely a tournament deck. Though not
one that can really compete, as extensive testing shows.
Here's the deck, for reference.
4x Copy Enchantment
4x Hatching Plans
4x Leyline of Singularity
4x Hunted Horror
4x Hunted Phantasm
4x Telling Time
4x Clutch of the Undercity
4x Last Gasp
2x Dimir Aqueduct
4x Watery Grave
4x Caustic Rain
4x Leyline of the Void
The sideboard is a bit of a mess, I know. Don't worry about
that, because the real problem with the deck lays elsewhere.
Aside from being a clearinghouse of otherwise worthless
rares and oddities, it's a lot of fun. The idea being that
if you can get a Leyline of Singularity out at the start of
the game, you can play the Hunted creatures with no
drawback. You can also play Mimeofacture to destroy any
nonland permanent, and play multiple Hatching Plans (or Copy
Enchantments) to draw tons of cards. It all seems pretty
fun, but unfortunately it relies so heavily on one card (the
Leyline) that it's just not workable. The current block
constructed format has far too many Mortifies and Angels of
Despair to really make the deck feasible.
So, with that idea abandoned, I was left with a bunch of
Hatching Plans and Copy Enchantments. I've never been so
determined to find a fun way to use a card as I was with the
Plans. That's my somewhat dormant Johnny-ness taking over
while my Spike-ness goes into remission, I suppose. So the
real story here is the process of figuring out what to do
with a weird little card. The first thing to notice about
Hatching Plans is that it doesn't have any way to sacrifice
itself. So you need to provide that yourself. Fortunately,
Odyssey gave us a perfect outlet for this. The rarely seen
kid brother of one of the best creatures ever printed –
Phantatog. It sacrifices enchantments and it discards cards.
Well heck, Hatching Plans is an enchantment that gives you
cards when you discard it. Seems like synergy to me. But an
Atog and a Monstrous Growth do not a deck make. If all I
wanted was to draw cards and make a big Atog, I might as
well just get myself some Psychatogs and Fact or Fictions.
So what I need is some way to recycle my Hatching Plans.
Some way to pull them back to be sacrificed again. There's
not many reasonable ways to bring back enchantments. The two
best (while staying in my colors of White and Blue) are
Hanna, Ship's Naviagator and Auramancer. Hanna has the
advantage of being able to pull things back over and over,
while the Auramancer is a lot faster, cheaper, easier to
cast and even has an extra point of power when you need it.
In addition to this, Auramancers can be obtained 4 for a
single event ticket, while Hanna runs 9 tix each. I decided
to pick up one Hanna anyway, just to add some style points
to the deck.
The real break that turned this from just a silly slow deck
into a powerhouse of the casual rooms was Cleansing
Meditation. Most people don't remember this card, as it
never really saw any play anywhere. Even in casual rooms.
It's outclassed by a ton of other cards, but here it shines.
Here's the card text:
Cleansing Meditation – 1WW
Destroy all enchantments.
Threshold – Instead, destroy all enchantments, then return
to play all cards in your graveyard destroyed this way.
In case it wasn't obvious, the combo potential here is huge.
Casting this with Threshold while there is a Hatching Plans
in play draws you three cards without (permanently)
destroying your Plans. So that got me to thinking. Hatching
Plans has a cool effect when it goes to the graveyard, but
Ravnica gave us a bunch of enchantments that have cool
effects when they come into play. That works great with
Cleansing Meditation, too. Faith's Fetters, already a staple
of many tournament and casual decks alike, is a perfect
cantidate here. It provides some early protection and life
while I set up the combo, and when I cast the Meditation, I
gain 4 more life and get to move it to a new target if I
want. In addition, Flight of Fancy isn't bad. It gives my
Phantatogs a bit of evasion while drawing some more cards.
And, of course, even more cards if I cast Meditation while
it's in play.
In addition to the fun comes into play effects, I knew I'd
need some more protective measures. Confiscate is a great
choice, and a favorite of just about every deck that tries
to play with lots of enchantments. Dream Leash has seen some
play lately, and it works much the same, albeit with a more
limited range of targets. I also decided to throw in a
couple copies of Privileged Position. Have a huge Phantatog
is great, but it can still get hit with a Terror or Rend
Flesh, and we can't have that happening, can we? As a last
defensive measure, I thought I'd put in a couple copies of
Teferi's Care. Most people forgot about this card about a
minute after they first read it. Here's the text so you
don't have to look it up:
Teferi's Care – 2W
W, sacrifice an enchantment: Destroy target enchantment.
3UU: Counter target enchantment spell.
The second ability is pretty lame. Come to think of it, so
is the first. However, it does provide me with another way
of sacrificing Hatching Plans if my Phantatogs and Cleansing
Meditations are absent. I started with two copies of this
but went down to one in the end. I'm unwilling to get rid of
it quite yet, though it probably won't make the cut for
To round things out, I put in a couple copies of Compulsion
– since Hatching Plans can't be the only card draw in the
deck. Also, I need to make sure I can get to Threshold for
using the Cleansing Meditations. I put in a couple of
Talismans of Progress to held flesh out the mana. I'll
gladly make these Azorious Signets once those are available.
In fact, I'm sure that the release of Dissension will do a
lot of cool things for this deck, the mana being not the
least of it. Last but not least, I realized that this deck
needed another threat. To that end, I put in one of my least
favorite creatures of all time – Cantivore! It's perfect in
this deck. And I realized that in a big multiplayer game it
can grow to pretty huge proportions.
So here's the deck as it stands now:
4x Cleansing Meditation
4x Faith's Fetters
1x Teferi's Care
1x Dream Leash
4x Copy Enchantment
2x Flight of Fancy
4x Hatching Plans
1x Hanna, Ship's Naviagator
2x Privileged Position
2x Talisman of Progress
2x Coastal Tower
1x Minamo, School at Water's Edge
2x Lonely Sandbar
2x Secluded Steppe
It's a bit choppy in the middle, and there's a few more one-ofs
and two-ofs than I would like normally. Oftentimes the
presence of Copy Enchantment makes up for this, however.
I've had a lot of luck with it so far, playing in Two Headed
Giant Extended. The deck has a lot of defensive resiliency,
and also appears to be weird and weak enough early on as to
not become a huge target. It has an explosive ability that
can't be denied, however. Casting a couple Cleansing
Meditations while you have two (or even three) Hatching
Plans in play can make for a huge Phantatog and huge
So that's my deckbuilding process. I really wanted to share
it with you. Before I go, however, I wanted to describe one
of the coolest plays I've ever made. It happened with this
deck no more than an hour ago.
I had a Phantatog, two Hatching Plans, a Compulsion and a
bunch of land in play. In my hand, I had a Cleansing
Meditation and a Dream Leash. I'd used a couple of Faith's
Fetters earlier, so they were in play as well. On my
opponent's turn, he cast a Niv-Mizzet. Ordinarily that's a
cause for alarm. Instead, I was exuberant. When my turn came
around, I cast Dream Leash on one of his lands. Then I cast
Cleansing Meditation. It destroyed and brought back my
Leash, two Fetters, two Hatching Plans and Compulsion. Now
the cool thing here is that Dream Leash only cares if the
thing is tapped if you cast it. If it's brought into play by
other means, it doesn't matter. The same is true for
untargetability. So I was able to Leash the Niv-Mizzet and
Fetters an offending Troll Ascetic (controlled by a
different opponent) and a Lightning Greaves that was
annoying me. The two Hatching Plans triggered to draw me 6
cards, and by the time they did I suddenly had a Niv-Mizzet
under my control, and got to shoot the opponent for 6. The
fun doesn't stop there, of course. I sacrificed the two
Hatching Plans to my Phantatog, drawing 6 more cards (and
doing 6 more damage). Then I swung in with the Phantatog for
16. All total, 28 damage dealt. And all because of something
my opponent played. Without that, I might have been in
trouble. So I guess I should make that the lesson for today
– you never know when your opponent is going to win the game
Copyrightę 1998-2006 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or
otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or
products featured on this site.
This is not an Official Site.