Decks to Beat - Tournament Winning Decks!

Card of the Day - A single card reviewed by several members of our crew.  Updated 5 days per week!

Message Board 

Card Price Guide

Featured Writers  
Judge Bill
DeQuan Watson
Ray Powers - Monk's Corner
Jeff Zandi
Jonathan Pechon
Jason Chapman - on Peasant Magic

Deck Garage
Jason's Deck Garage

MTG Fan Articles
Deck Tips & Strategies
Peasant Magic
Tourney Reports 
Featured Articles  
Single Card Strategy

Magic Quizzes & Polls

Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews



Inexpensive Rat Deck

7.05.04  Hey folks, and welcome to the Deck Garage on Pojo. I guess I should kick things off with an introduction. My name is Paul Hagan, and I’ve been playing Magic in one form or another since Nemesis came out. I’ve been an employee at the Game Closet in Waco, Texas for a little over three years, and I have experienced a wide variety of games in that time. And yes, Magic is still, by far, the best. Some of you might also be familiar with me from, where I run the VS Deck Garage.

How will I be running the Deck Garage? Simple: you send in decklists, and I post fixed versions of those decks here on Pojo. The only thing I ask of you is that you include *everything* possible that you think I should know about the deck: what format is it being used it, what budget you are on, what cards can stay, what cards can go, and so on. So, if you’d like to see your deck in the Deck Garage, drop me an e-mail at and I’ll see what I can do.

To kick things off, I snagged a deck from the forums here on Pojo. Originally posted by ThunderClash on July 3rd, the focus of the deck is (in a word) – rats! Thunder wants to build a fairly inexpensive Rat deck, and it needs to be Type II legal. Here is what he currently has…

4 Chittering Rats
2 Coat of Arms
2 Dark Banishing
4 Ravenous Rats
10 Relentless Rats
4 Swarm of Rats

20 Swamp

Obviously, Thunder needs to have a few more cards in the deck, but I imagine he is aware of this fact. To start things off, why don’t we go ahead and up the number of Relentless Rats to twelve, bringing our total Rat count to twenty-four.

+2 Relentless Rats

I do like all of the other rats in the deck; they add well to the flavor and are fairly useful. Next, since Rats tend to be small early game, which allows Thunder’s opponent to get a creature advantage early. Thus, I think the deck warrants a little extra removal…

+2 Dark Banishing
+4 Barter in Blood

Though Dark Banishing is a fairly obvious choice (it’s just good!), I feel the need to explain Barter in Blood. Think of it this way: if you lose a Rat, who cares? There are a billion more! Now, what if your opponent loses a Guardian Idol or Exalted Angel? Well, there are only so many of those.

Many readers will notice I said “a billion more” above, in reference to rats. Some of you may be saying, “Now wait, there are only twenty-four – that’s not a lot!” Well, it can be, especially when you land…

*drum roll*

The Rat Lock! By adding a full set of Soul Foundries, Thunder can, after a while, start to lock down his opponent. Think of Soul Foundry with Ravenous Rats or Chittering Rats imprinted on it – that’s losing a card per turn! How many turns of doing nothing can your opponent stand? Each time he or she plays a card, they are losing a little bit of the advantage. Meanwhile, the player with Foundry is only increasing the size of his army.

+4 Soul Foundry

I won’t go into detail on just how good Soul Foundry imprinted with Relentless Rats is. You can figure that one out on your own.

As the final change to the maindeck, I would suggest throwing in a couple of extra Swamps for consistency.

+2 Swamp

Now, I can’t let Thunder go into the World of Type II without a sideboard, can I? So we’ll go ahead and start with something to help against those pesky control decks.

+3 Pulse of the Dross

Who knew this card would eventually be useful? With the Rats keeping Thunder’s hand-size low, Pulse will just keep returning and reeking havoc upon his opponent’s hand. Also against control (White/Blue Control can be painful to play against), Thunder could play three Cabal Interrogator.

+3 Cabal Interrogator

Those of you who have been around Type II and last year’s block might remember this guy having his moment in the sun with Zombie decks. He’s still a force to be reckoned with when playing against Control.

Another good card against Control, and against pretty much any deck that is running only one color (or mostly one color) is Persecute. For the low cost of four mana, Thunder will be able to strip his opponents’ hands of anything worthwhile.

+3 Persecute

I know I’ll get a bit of hate mail for my next suggestion, but I have always liked this card, and having seen a fair amount of Red-Green Beasts in my area, I have to assume they are popping up elsewhere. Beasts can produce almost as many creatures as Rats, and their creatures are bigger. So why not slide by them with…

+2 Cover of Darkness

Unfortunately, the weak match-up for Rats looks like it could be Affinity. Rats simply don’t seem to have the firepower to match the artifact deck that has been a dominant force of the Standard scene for quite a while. The best advice that I can offer is to play more creature kill, and one of the best (and somewhat ignored) cards that I see is…

+4 Devour in Shadow

Obviously, Thunder *cannot* play this card when Arcbound Ravenger is on the table, or otherwise he is setting himself up for a loss. He can, however, destroy those pesky Myr Enforcers or Disciple of the Vault to keep his opponent from gaining too much of an advantage early.

The final, fixed decklist looks like this:


4 Barter in Blood
4 Chittering Rats
2 Coat of Arms
4 Dark Banishing
4 Ravenous Rats
12 Relentless Rats
4 Soul Foundry
4 Swarm of Rats
22 Swamp


3 Cabal Interrogator
2 Cover of Darkness
4 Devour in Shadow
3 Persecute
3 Pulse of Dross

Hopefully, this article will help Thunder out. Good luck on the tourney scene!

I guess that about wraps it up for my first Deck Garage for Magic; I look forward to doing many more. If you’d like to see your deck in the Deck Garage, drop me an e-mail at  (make sure to include any specifics), and I’ll see what I can do.

I’ll see y’all next week. Happy gaming!

-Paul Hagan


Sponsors & Polls  

Copyright 2001

Magic the Gathering is a Registered Trademark of Wizards of the Coast.
This site is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast and is not an Official Site.