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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Red/Blue Land Killer
January 28, 2013

That's right folks, two deck fixes from BMoor in two weeks! I'm on a roll!
This week's deck comes from Dante, who's got the makings of an Izzet deck, but no Return to Ravnica cards. At least I had no trouble finding suggestions for him! 
This is a Red/Blue Land Killer based deck. I just wanted to see if you had any suggestions.
The basic strategy is simple - kill off land quick, and slowly pry through any defenses they may have gotten.

If the game lasts long enough, I can literally have infinite turns, which is hilarious. But, ya know, always room for improvement.
Here is what I have right now:
Nucklavee        x2
Izzet Chronarch       x1
Gryff Vanguard x1
Mulldrifter       x1
Lunar Mystic      x2
Mist Raven        x2
Solemn Simulacrum        x1
Snapcaster Mage            x1
Arcane Melee    x1
Dual Casting     x1
Lost in the Mist  x2
Ghostly Flicker  x2
Temporal Mastery          x1
Into the Maw of Hell x2
Mystic Retrieval  x4
Demolish            x2
Divination        x2
Stone Rain        x4
Devil's Play       x2
Sol Ring            x2
Sulfur Falls       x1
Haunted Fengraf            x2
Island  x8
Mountain         x8
Here is what I plan on getting to edit it, but was curious if you had any suggestions:

Nucklavee        x2
Izzet Chronarch  x2
Mulldrifter       x2
Mist Raven        x3
Solemn Simulacrum        x2
Goblin Electromancer x2
Arcane Melee    x2
Dual Casting     x2
Ghostly Flicker  x3
Temporal Mastery          x2
Into the Maws of Hell x2
Mystic Retrieval  x4
Stone Rain        x4
Devil's Play       x2
Sol Ring            x1
Sulfur Falls       x4
Izzet Guildgate  x4
Haunted Fengraf            x2
Island  x7
Mountain         x6
I'm glad you came to me with this, Dante, because I have quite a few issues with this deck.
First of all, when you said that you can have "infinite turns" with this deck, I of course looked through to find what combo you were using to do it. I couldn't find it. Maybe I'm a fool and it's staring me in the face, but the only card in your deck I can find that gives you extra turns is Temporal Mastery. Temporal Mastery exiles itself when it resolves, Dante. That means Mystic Retrieval, Nucklavee, and all your other spell-retrieval tricks won't work here.
The only way to reuse a Temporal Mastery would be to use Dual Casting to copy it, then counter the original. The original card would then go to the graveyard, where you could retrieve it, while the copy resolved and gave you an extra turn. You'd need to then Ghostly Flicker (copied) to flicker at least two Nucklavee and an Izzet Chronarch-- the Nucklavee to get back Ghostly Flicker and Lost in the Mist (your counterspell) and the Chronarch to get back Temporal Mastery (as a blue sorcery, Nucklavee can't get it back). Given how few copies your deck has of each of these cards, this will all come together approximately never. 
You'd have to do all that every turn to keep it going, which raises the question of how you're actually winning. Your only creatures of note are the Nucklavees, Chronarchs, and a handful of other creatures that have useful abilities but are quite small for their mana costs and would thus never hold up in combat aginst whatever creatures your opponent is playing by that point. The Mulldrifters and Vanguards have flying, so they might be able to plink away if your opponent has no Dragons or Spiders, but all your other dudes are just 2/2's that don't hit the board until turn four, or later. And since your creatures are so outclassed, your opponent will steamroll you by the time you have a chance to set up a combo.
But you've already thought of that, haven't you Dante?
You've said it yourself. Your plan is to "kill off land quick, and slowly pry through any defenses they may have gotten." Which means that, ideally, you'll cut off an opponent's ability to do anything, then take several turns to actually win while they sit there, unable to do anything, and watch you slowly take them over.
The problem? Neither land destruction nor extra turns actually bring you any closer to winning. They make it dang near impossible for the other guy to win, but they don't get you any closer to winning, they just push everybody else further away. They're like life gain.
That might be fun for you, but for the guy on the other side of the table it's like the days of the Sega Genesis all over again, where your friend would invite you over to play video games, but you'd get over and all he'd have are single-player games and what he really meant was that you and him would have to take turns playing. And of course it's his Genesis and his games, so he's better at them than you are, and so he can go longer without dying and that means his turns are longer and so you spend a good part of the afternoon bored and silently hating your friend while it never occurs to him what a terrible host he's actually being.
Let's see if we can't fix this deck up so that it wins you games AND friends, shall we?
First of all, your creatures are too slow and too expensive for their stats. Five mana 2/2's just don't win games, especially when they're 2/2's that don't do anything combat relevant. The Nucklavee, Snapcaster, and EITHER Mulldrifter or Gryff Vanguard (your choice) can stay in, but cut out the rest. We will still need targets for Dual Casting though, so bring in some Goblin Electromancer, a few Nivix Guildmage, and most importantly, Guttersnipe. Now THERE'S a card that gets you closer to winning! If you like having flyers to swing with (and play with sleeves) then Delver of Secrets is also a good beater for a spell-heavy deck.
Now for your spells. The biggest problem with the Red/Blue Sorcery/Instant decks is that so many of the cards that benefit sorceries and instants aren't themselves sorceries or instants, so you're torn-- you need enough instants and sorceries to make the Guttersnipes worth it, but you need the Guttersnipes or you've just got a deck with too many spells and not enough creatures. For that reason, I'd say don't go above 2 each of Arcane Melee or Dual Casting. And honestly, if you've got a playset of Goblin Electormancer (and you should) you don't need Arcane Melee. I'd rather see you replace it with Pyromancer Ascension.
You also need to make sure you've got enough spells worth retrieving/copying. Having pulled Izzet Chronarch, Mist Raven, and all those enter-the-battlefield dudes means you don't need Ghostly Flicker. Temporal Mastery can come out too-- you can't combo with it effectively, and one extra turn isn't worth that kind of mana if all you're getting is one extra turn of swinging with 2/2's. And since we're backing away from strategies that make your friends want to punch you, out come the Stone Rain as well, but not Into the Maw of Hell. Why not?
Because Into the Maw of Hell isn't just a land killer, it's also a burn spell! That's how red/blue "spells" deck usually win, with burn! Burn is a much more tolerable way to win than land destruction, because instead of the other guy sitting there with a hand full of cards he can't play, he gets to play his cards, and then watch them all die! That's why you should definitely add in some more burn spells. Devil's Play was a good choice, and to it I'd add Mizzium Mortars, and a few good old Lightning Bolt.
Really, any spell with Overload would be great for this deck. You'd never have to worry about casting it too early and missing out on the Overload, because you can Mystic Retrieval it back once you have enough mana to Overload it.
Cackling Counterpart would be a nice choice too. You can copy a Nucklavee for extra spell retrieval, an Electromancer to boost the discount on the rest of your spells, or a Guttersnipe to make every spell you cast hurt that much more.
Flashback plays especially well with Pyromancer Ascension, as does Rebound. For your deck, Surreal Memoir would be the best of the Rebounders. At this rate, you may never run out of spells.
With enough copying and retrieving of all your instants and sorceries, you can generate amazing card advantage without having to lock out your friends from playing their spells. And nothing feels better than having a mitt full of spells, knowing full well that you can cast them all copy some of them, and eventually get them all back. Why slog through infinite turns when you can have infinite spells?
Good luck!




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Magic the Gathering Deck Fixes