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Paul Hagan's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage

Test of Endurance Casual Deck


Hey all, and welcome back to the deck garage. Normally, something I like to harp on is that life-gain doesn’t win you games. Something people tend to forget is that you don’t win the game by gaining life, you win when your opponent runs out of life; however, this statement isn’t always true. Today’s e-mail and accompanying deck illustrate this…

Hey, I've been playing casually for a few years and now i am thinking about tournement play. The underlying combo of the deck is illusions of granduer and test of endurance, with blue counter and white life gain and stall cards.
4 x Tundra
4 x Adarkar Wastes
4 x Flooded Strand
4 x Plains
4 x Island

Blue Spells:
4 x Force of Will
1 x Daze
1 x Gush
2 x Impulse
1 x Mystical Tutor
2 x Illusions of Grandeur
2 x Donate
2 x Show and Tell
2 x Confiscate

White Spells:
4 x Life Burst
2 x Reverse Damage
2 x Swords to Plowshares
2 x Orim's Chant
2 x Replenish
2 x Test of Endurance
1 x Renounce
1 x Enlightened Tutor

2 x Academy Rector
1 x Meddling Mage

2 x Isochron Scepter
2 x Despotic Scepter

Havent thought of a side board yet
Comments and suggestions much appreciated


Correction: life-gain *can* help you win the game as long as Test of Endurance is involved.

The first thing I’d like to do to help Frank’s deck along is to dump a couple of cards that don’t quite fit the theme of this deck *or* aren’t high enough quality to make the cut. This means Confiscate, Show and Tell, Reverse Damage, Renounce, and Despotic Scepter.

-2 Confiscate
-2 Despotic Scepter
-1 Renounce
-2 Reverse Damage
-2 Show and Tell

The next thing I want to do is to go through and up the count on what I consider to be really key cards. Impulse allows Frank to search deep into his deck, so why not play four copies?

+2 Impulse

Swords to Plowshares can help take care of immediate threats, especially those early-game beasts that are difficult to deal with, such as River Boa.

+2 Swords to Plowshares

I also want to include four copies of Isochron Scepter. Life Burst, Orim’s Chant, Impulse, Swords to Plowshares, and Enlightened Tutor *all* fit on Scepter, meaning it will almost always be good when Frank draws it up.

+2 Isochron Scepter

Now for a bit of housekeeping. Daze is an OK card, but I don’t really see room for it in this deck. Out it goes.

-1 Daze

The same can be said for Gush. With only four Islands and four Tundra in the deck, I’m not entirely sure of the wisdom of returning lands to the hand.

-1 Daze

Mystical Tutor is, much like the above, an OK card that doesn’t really need to be hanging out. We have a limited amount of room, and I would much rather play an extra copy or three of Enlightened Tutor -- especially with the increased number of Isochron Scepter in the deck.

-1 Mystical Tutor
+3 Enlightened Tutor

OK, so our goal is to gain as much life as possible in as short amount of time as possible. What will be the biggest detriment to gaining life? Yes, kids, it would be losing life. What will be the cause of a lot of lost life? Opponents’ spells and creatures, yes, that is correct. This means that I do want to increase the number of Orim’s Chant in the deck to four. And yes, this does have something to do with Isochron Scepter being in the deck.

+2 Orim’s Chant

Since there are only two real ways to win in this deck -- by gaining fifty life and scoring a Test of Endurance *or* Donate-ing an Illusions of Grandeur and watching the victim struggle -- I want to up the count on Test of Endurance to three. The amount of searching cards in this deck should be enough to support just two, but I would prefer to err on the side of too many than too few.

+1 Test of Endurance

The last change I want to make to this deck is to increase the number of lands. Frank cannot afford to miss out on land-drops, especially since he has to attempt to hold off his opponent’s forces while gaining as much life as possible. Out go Meddling Mage (too many cards in casual environments to be effective) and Academy Rector (we have enough search), and in go three copies of Coastal Tower.

-2 Academy Rector
-1 Meddling Mage
+3 Coastal Tower

Here is the finished product…

2 Donate
4 Enlightened Tutor
4 Force of Will
2 Illusions of Grandeur
4 Impulse
4 Isochron Scepter
4 Life Burst
4 Orim’s Chant
2 Replenish
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Test of Endurance

LANDS (23):
4 Adarkar Wastes
3 Coastal Tower
4 Flooded Strand
4 Islands
4 Plains
4 Tundra

I hope that helps, Frank, and good luck!

See y’all next week.

-Paul Hagan


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