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Madness Monger

3.13.02 - Good (morning/afternoon/evening/night delete as applicable) all! Yes, even you.

I've just learned recently that John 'The Happy Heretic' is starting to fix decks in his section on Pojo's site. He's a talented and experienced player with much valuable advice to impart to those in search of guidance. So, if your deck is in need of a tune-up then he'll be just as useful as Aaron and I.

Speaking of deck fixes, here's one I was sent this week by Elmer Lim. He's a fan of card combos, and the deck has many great little touches that set it apart from the crowd. Here's the original deck list:

4 Carrion Rats
4 Cavern Harpy
3 Gaea's Skyfolk
3 Mystic Snake
2 Marsh Crocodile
2 Scrivener

4 Undermine
3 Boomerang
3 Harrow
2 Chainer's Edict
2 Unsummon
2 Counterspell
2 Opportunity

9 Island
4 Underground River 
4 Swamp
3 Yavimaya Coast 
2 Llanowar Wastes
2 Forest

The central combo is to use the 'comes into play' abilities of Scrivener and Mystic Snake multiple times, by using Cavern Harpy to return them to your hand after they have hit the board. Unfortunately, this idea falls apart when you look at the costs.

Cavern Harpy + Scrivener will allow you to return an instant from your graveyard, but for the ridiculous cost of 4UUB and 1 life.

Cavern Harpy + Mystic Snake lets you counter a spell at any time, but takes 1GUUUB and 1 life for the privilege.

Playing combos is great for a deck, but at those costs you'd be using up all your resources on effects which you'd normally pay about 2 mana for. Forget these combos, and instead look at the Madness mechanism brought to us by Torment.

Take, for example, the Wild Mongrel + Arrogant Wurm combo. In this case you are discarding a card in order to give the Mongrel +1/+1 and a colour change. If the card that you discard happens to be Arrogant Wurm, then you can play a 4/4 trampler for 2G, and still get the bonus for the Wild Mongrel. This is a great little combo that frees up mana for more important things, and can give you a massive creature on turn 3 without any acceleration.

Psychatog is another great card along these lines. He's almost unstoppable in his own deck, and in this one you'll be able to discard cards to him as well as Wild Mongrel for sizable rewards. Playing 4 of each will mean that you always have a way of playing your Madness cards.

Speaking of which, Arrogant Wurm isn't the only one this deck can use. Circular Logic gives you a counterspell for the Madness cost of just U. Strength of Lunacy gives a creature +2/+1 and protection from White for a single Black mana, but creature enchantments are usually sub-par in actual play.

Mystic Snake is certainly good enough to stay, and adds a well costed counterspell to the arsenal. Gaea's Skyfolk is better in 2-colour decks. In this GUB deck you'll often not have access to both Green and Blue mana early on, and this creature's strength is being played as a quick 2/2 flier. Marsh Crocodile is much weaker since Odyssey block. As your opponent chooses the card to discard, you'll often be unwittingly helping them with Threshold, Flashback or even Madness. The drawback of Carrion Rats will make them useless against some decks.

As for the spells, there are far too many 2s. Don't play some bounce unless you have room for a lot of bounce. Having 4 Undermine is always a good idea, and play another Counterspell. The aforementioned Circular Logic will work well at both pumping creatures and protecting your key spells. As a drawing engine, Fact or Fiction is the king here. You're drawing usually 3 cards, plus dropping a couple that can feed Psychatog. Careful Study follows the same basic pattern, and allows you to fire off two Madness cards instead of the discard 'drawback'.

Finally, add the king of the beasts, Spiritmonger. With all the countermagic you have access to, getting him into play for the kill should be a simple task.

4 Mystic Snake
4 Wild Mongrel
4 Psychatog
3 Arrogant Wurm
3 Spiritmonger

4 Undermine
4 Careful Study
4 Circular Logic
3 Counterspell
3 Fact or Fiction

6 Island
4 Forest
4 Underground River
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Yavimaya Coast
2 Swamp

This deck is a lovely spaghetti junction of mixed combos. You'll play a Spiritmonger, and then discard a Circular Logic to counter the Syncopate aimed at it, while simultaneously giving your Wild Mongrel +1/+1 and a free colour change. You'll play Fact or Fiction, taking the larger pile, and then feed everything to Psychatog giving him +6/+6. You'll play a Careful Study, drawing 2 cards and playing 2 Arrogant Wurm for just 2G each.

This deck is like Countermonger, but for the combo fanatics.

Thanks a lot for sending me your deck, Elmer, and I hope you enjoy trying out all the new twists and turns I've suggested.

Well, until next time, happy gaming! If you want to comment about anything, or send me your deck for a tune-up, the address is back one page.

That is all.




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com

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