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Paul Hagan's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
 Red-Blue Extended deck - Words of War - 3.29.05

Hey guys, and welcome back to the Deck Garage. Hope y’all had a Happy Easter! This week’s deck is from another Nameless Contributor, and comes in the form of a Red-Blue Extended deck that aims to take advantage of Words of War and a fair number of card draw effects. Here’s the e-mail I received…

Hello Mr. Hagan. I came up with this idea for an extended red/blue draw/sligh deck that i am hoping to build. It uses drawing to it's full potential in order to do lots of damage with words of war. It plays early game control and stalling until all of the pieces fall together. Here is a decklist. Thank you for your time.

4x Shivan Reef
4x Cephalid Coliseum
4x Rishadan Port
6x Island
6x Mountain
4x Brainstorm
4x Accumulated Knowledge
4x Gush
4x Deep Analysis
4x Standstill
4x Words of War
4x Attunement
4x Tangle Wire
4x Cunning Wish

Standstill and tangle wire are used to stall in the early game and the finisher basically consists of words of war and attunement since it can be constantly reused. cunning wish is in the deck in case i need to fetch a counterspell, stifle, misdirection, bounce, etc. from the sideboard.


I’ve got to give props to our contributor for having a good land count and not having a ton of 1-ofs and 2-ofs. This is extremely helpful in granting a deck consistency. However, there is such a thing as going *too* far with a theme, and I think that is where this deck has gotten off track.

Out of the 36 non-land cards in this deck, 24 allow the pilot to draw cards…and nothing else. Cephalid Coliseum is even in the deck, bringing the total to 28 out of 60. I won’t say that drawing cards is a bad thing, but I think the area this deck is going to have trouble in is defending itself while it sets up.

The first thing I would like to do is pull the Attunement and the Standstills. Attunement is an OK card is some decks, but I think Deep Analysis, Gush, Accumulate Knowledge, and Brainstorm do a good enough job of keeping cards in hand. Also, it doesn’t help that later in the game, with Words of War on the table, Attunement is forcing you to discard and not gain any cards, which could hurt a *lot*.

My problem with Standstill is that it is in the deck to stall in the early game, which it actually doesn’t do. As this deck doesn’t have any counterspells for early on, as soon as an opponent knows what is going on, they should just allow this deck’s pilot to draw some cards while they play out a threat. Who cares if they have three cards when you are playing a Wild Mongrel that needs to be dealt with immediately?

-4 Attunement
-4 Standstill

I want to squeeze a little bit more room into this deck for a card I want to add, so let’s see if we can find some room for three extra cards. I believe that three Cunning Wish should be sufficient for all of our contributors sideboard-tutoring needs, so let’s cut one of those. I also think that, with the obscene amount of card-draw still in the deck, that we can afford to cut down on a few of the lands, say by two. I’m labeling the lands I pull as Generic Land, since it really doesn’t matter which I take, as I will be readjusting the land set-up later.

-1 Cunning Wish
-2 Generic Land

The first card I would like to add is both removal and an actual stalling card for early in the game: Fire and Ice. The red half can be used to take care of any small threats, which is something that this deck could fear (an early Basking Rootwalla, for example), and the blue half can be used to buy some time by tapping a creature down. It doesn’t hurt that Ice actually allows you to draw a card, which this deck apparently likes to do.

+4 Fire / Ice

The next card I would like to add is an old favorite for every blue mage: Counterspell. There still isn’t a card that counters better than the original, and I think that the low amount of red mana in this deck makes it OK to run Counterspell over other counters that require only one blue mana, such as Mana Leak.

+4 Counterspell

The last card I would like to add, as mentioned earlier when I was making room for three more slots, is Isochron Scepter. With Brainstorm, Accumulate Knowledge, Fire/Ice, and Counterspell all hiding out in this deck, I think that it might be worth having a few copies of the Scepter floating around.

+3 Isochron Scepter

Since our contributor had done such a good job of setting up his deck, this article was a bit short, so why don’t I throw in a sideboard as well? It would make me feel better.

Since this deck is opting to play Cunning Wish, I think it would be a good idea to include a lot of 1-ofs, that way we get a “toolbox” effect with the sideboard, allowing the pilot to hunt down whatever tool is best for the task at hand.

The first, and probably most obvious, is a couple of forms of counterspell. I think that Thwart might be a good option, since you only need three mana (and three islands) to pick a counterspell out of your sideboard. I think the other should be Mana Leak, since it fits in that nice area between Thwart alternate-cost and Thwart real-cost.

+1 Mana Leak
+1 Thwart

Thwart and Mana Leak don’t counter activated or triggered abilities, though, and these can sometimes be the death of you more than a single spell. OK, that was a horrible introduction, but I really didn’t have a better way to stick the addition of Stifle into the sideboard into this article.

+1 Stifle

It couldn’t be a bad idea to throw in a bounce spell as well, and I think that Echoing Truth is best in this situation. There is rarely a need to bounce a land, and since we have two colors of mana in the deck, it can’t be bad to only have one color of mana in the casting cost. Occasionally, there will be a match where you need to continually bounce a card, so let’s throw in Capsize as well.

+1 Capsize
+1 Echoing Truth

The next idea on my list is a quick burn spell or two. I can see the need for multiples over the course of a game occasionally, so why don’t we include Urza’s Rage for (A) a quick, uncounterable burn spell and (B) an alternate finisher.

The other burn spell can be just about anything, but since Magma Jet is floating around and readily available, it seems like as good a choice as any. As this deck’s biggest issues are likely to be a quick creature rush, let’s go ahead and include multiple copies of Magma Jet.

+3 Magma Jet
+1 Urza’s Rage

We’ll occasionally want to remove an artifact from play, and no other color does that better than Red. Shatter is a decent option as any.

+1 Shatter

However, sometimes, you have no clue which artifact to take care of, especially with decks like Affinity. In that case, why not bust out Rebuild?

+1 Rebuild

I don’t think I could get away with making a Cunning Wish sideboard without Fact or Fiction – I’d be flooded with e-mails by the next day. The spell isn’t in the deck currently since we want cards that say “draw a card”, not “reveal cards”. However, sometimes, you have to hunt, and there is nothing better than FoF.

+1 Fact or Fiction

Although Affinity is gone in Type II, it is still alive and well in Extended. Fortunately, blue comes fully equipped with one of the best artifact removal cards I’ve seen in the form of Energy Flux. Let’s try three copies.

+3 Energy Flux

I think that about wraps up the work on this deck; let’s see how it turned out…

4 Accumulate Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
3 Cunning Wish
4 Deep Analysis
4 Fire / Ice
4 Gush
3 Isochron Scepter
4 Tangle Wire
4 Words of War

LAND (22):
4 Cephalid Coliseum
6 Island
4 Mountain
4 Rishadan Port
4 Shivan Reef

1 Capsize
1 Echoing Truth
3 Energy Flux
1 Fact or Fiction
3 Magma Jet
1 Mana Leak
1 Rebuild
1 Shatter
1 Stifle
1 Thwart
1 Urza’s Rage

Hope that helps out, Nameless Contributor, and good luck! I’ll see y’all next week.

-Paul Hagan


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