Peasant Deck: Turbo Commons V 1.0
Ever since the summer of 2001, I have (sporadically) presented upgraded versions of one of my favorite decks, dubbed by it‘s creator “Turbo Commons.” In all of this time, I have never presented the deck in it’s original configuration. Ladies and gentlemen, the original comes home.
TURBO COMMONS VERSION 1.0
1 Bone Harvest
2 Fallen Askari
2 Cadaverous Knight
2 Hymn to Tourach
2 Crypt Rats
2 Dark Banishings
2 Dark Rituals
2 Drain Life
3 Tar Pit Warrior
2 Skulking Ghost
2 Order of the Ebon Hand
3 Suq’Ata Lancers
4 Lightning Bolts
1 Fountain of Youth
2 Phyrexian War Beast
1 Yotian Soldier
Props-where-props-is-due department: I am not the creator of this deck. Turbo Commons was created by Wizard magazine staffer Mike Searle in the article “Common Denominator” as an example on building competitive decks on a budget (Inquest Magazine # 25, May 1997.) I recommend it to any player (PEZ or otherwise) interested in deck building on a budget. Searle’s version of Turbo Commons was designed for the Standard tourney scene of it’s day (Ice Age block, Mirage block and Fourth Edition.)
The original Turbo Common’s game plan is the same as that of it’s successors: a black/red deck assigned the task of giving your opponent a terminal case of death as quickly as possible via it’s cheap, fast and powerful weenie creatures backed up by direct damage and black support spells. Searle’s version of TC has one or two cards that plainly go against the game plan, therefore I think we should go thru the deck and explain what he was trying to accomplish.
1) Flank off!: Fallen Askari, Cadaverous Knight and Suq’Ata Lancer all possess the Flanking ability (“Whenever a creature without Flanking blocks this creature, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn“), an underrated little talent that, when combined with their 2/2 stats, allows these knights to routinely survive combat with PEZ standbys like the goblins, zombies and their brother knights.
They almost always survive a one-on-one with any creature of less than two toughness. Feel no shame in sacrificing one of your boys on the battlefield, so long as that 3/3 goes down along with. A suicidal Flanker combined with direct damage can go along way in picking off bigger game. (On a side note, the Suq’Ata Lancer is a double threat: a Flanker with Haste!)
2) Back in Black: While black’s creatures provide the backbone of the deck’s assault, it’s spells are primarily for support. Hymn to Tourach and Coercion provide the much appreciated discard/disruption while the Dark Banishings and Drain Lives eliminate the creatures the burn spells couldn’t kill. Dark Rituals provides the surprise one-drops and mana pump, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why he didn‘t run four! I must confess that the deck works fine with only two, but still…)
3) Crypt Rats: And herein I quote…myself! “Don't just blindly cast the Rats as soon as you can. The experienced player will paint the bullseye on them for you. Wait until you need to clear the board before you play it. Make sure you have enough mana to cast the Rats and wipe the board in one shot.”
4) Tar Pit Warrior and Skulking Ghost go poof as soon as they are targeted by a spell or ability, but they’re in because of their relative high power for a cheap mana cost. And no, they don’t last very long, which brings me to…
5) Bone Harvest? Your troops will suffer casualties. That’s a fact of life in a deck filled with Kamikaze knights, rats running headlong into the crypt and 3/4 creatures going “poof” at the drop of a hat. The Harvest lets you restack your library and reuse your creatures one more time. (This deck really should be called “the Suicide Squad,” shouldn’t it?)
6) Fountain of Youth!?! In Searle’s own words: “Much needed life gain.” Um, okaaaay…Definitely NOT the deck’s MVP. As far as the other artifacts: the War Beast are more of that “cheap cost/high power” philosophy while the Yotian Soldier provides a touch of defense in an otherwise aggressive deck.
7) BURN! Direct damage equals creature kill. Fireball equals creature kill writ large. An opponent with low life total equals three to the dome.
Searle didn’t bother with giving Turbo Commons a sideboard, but I can take a stab at what it might have looked liked, circa 1997.
4 Red Elemental Blasts (anti-blue counter spells)
*2 Anarchy (uncommon, wipes out those pesky anti-red Circles of Protection)
4 Choking Sands (destroy those non-basic lands)
2 Shatter (artifact kill)
*3 Reign of Terror (uncommon, drops green and white creatures)
Once again, feel free to send your kudos or death threats on the deck to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.