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Machines and Dragons

Hello once more, dear reader. It's great to see you again!

This past week, in between extensive testing of the Jenova deck, I've been having a look over Romanian Rogue-Meister Dan's deck. It focuses on the principle of land destruction. Without land, your opponent won't have mana, and without mana they won't be able to cast spells! Well, that's the theory anyway. In practice the best land removal cards have long since left Type II, and only the most eccentric players will consider using such a deck. Dan Maftei, however, is such a player and as such gets my respect. That's quite enough waffle, so let's see the original deck list.

4 Nightscape Familiar
3 Flametongue Kavu
3 Petravark
1 Petradon

4 Devastating Dreams
4 Rancid Earth
4 Stone Rain
3 Terminate
2 Diabolic Tutor
2 Tainted Pact
1 Chainer's Edict
1 Earth Rift
1 Urza's Rage
3 Charcoal Diamond
3 Fire Diamond

7 Swamp
4 Mountain
4 Barbarian Ring
4 Sulfurous Springs
3 Tainted Peak

Hmm. 4 singles. I'd ordinarily pounce on that, but singles are quite acceptable in the case of metagaming (Chainer's Edict, Urza's Rage) or a high mana cost. (Earth Rift, Petradon) When working on your decks, just remember that you won't be able to fit an answer to everything in there. 61 cards usually isn't optimal in a deck, but that'll sort itself out by the end.

Dan was considering switching to a 3-colour deck, but I don't recommend this. The spells here are more colour-intensive than usual anyway.

The engines of the deck, and hence the cards which you'll find in most decks of this style, are the land destruction cards themselves. Stone Rain is the template, 2R to destroy 1 opposing land, which the rest are compared to. Pillage is just as good as Stone Rain. You pay R instead of a colourless, and it becomes an instant that can also target artifacts. Another high-quality card is Lava Blister. (1R to destroy a non-basic land unless your opponent chooses to take 6 damage instead) You'll be hard pressed to find a deck with only basic lands, and very rarely will it be a better option to take the burn. This card can be unreliable, but it is also excellent value. Take 2.

As for Petravark and Petradon, I don't think they're all they've cracked up to be. In these days of cards flitting wildly between hand, play area and graveyard, there are just too many ways to make them leave play. You'll end up paying 3R many times just to enjoy the company of a 2/2 creature for a turn or two. Instead of them, I advise the use of Trench Wurm. You get a solid creature, (3/3 for 4 mana) and you have a very productive way to use any spare mana.

Nightscape Familiar are great in this deck. Reducing the fairly high costs of the Red spells by 1 each is nice value for mana, and they're hard to kill as well.

Next, there's a little card by the name of Mogg Sentry. Thanks to the Happy Heretic, I know how well this gem works with land destruction. With a couple on the board, play your spells during your first main phase. If they play anything that could adversely affect the spell, they are pumping up the Mogg Sentry by +2/+2 each, directly before your combat phase! Seeing as Mogg Sentry + Rancid Earth is not helpful, drop the Rancid Earth. Pillage is a more than able replacement. A card that does work well, with both Mogg Sentry and the land destruction theme, is Overmaster. This card has 'Counter me!' written all over it. If your enemy succumbs to this, they pump up your creatures, but if they leave it you can destroy their favourite land unopposed, and the free card always helps.

Devastating Dreams is a tricky one. Playing it in this deck would usually remove most if not all of your creatures. Also, your land count will probably be too high when you play this for the artifact mana to be more useful than a regular land. Having 5 more mana sources than your opponent is a nice feeling, but if he's got some creatures left you are truly stuffed. As an alternative finishing blow, try Rites of Initiation. Pay R, discard your hand, your creatures get +1/+0 for the rest of the turn for every card you discard. With 4 creatures out and a hand of 5 cards, that makes a respectable 20 additional damage to deal. If you do decide to keep the artifact mana, take the Bloodstone Cameo instead of the diamonds. It costs 1 more, but comes into effect a turn earlier, and can provide either colour.

I don't think Earth Rift is needed any more. There are plenty of other land-destruction substitutes, and Trench Wurm is now in charge of eating spare mana near the end of the game. Diabolic Pact has gone because you don't want to need 2 specialised mana of your minor colour. Alterations to the land count are just to balance the other changes I've advised for the deck.

Here's the finished product:

4 Nightscape Familiar
4 Mogg Sentry
3 Flametongue Kavu
3 Trench Wurm

4 Overmaster
4 Stone Rain
4 Pillage
3 Rites of Initiation
2 Lava Blister
2 Terminate
2 Chainer's Edict
2 Tainted Pact
1 Urza's Rage

4 Sulfurous Springs
4 Barbarian Ring
5 Swamp
9 Mountain

All in all, I think it looks solid. Play the Mogg Sentry as a centrepiece for best results, and don't worry about the strange looks you get for playing all your spells during your first main phase!

I wish you the best of luck with your deck, Dan. Well… second best. I wouldn't want you beating Jenova now, would I?

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

That is all.




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com

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