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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
4x Accumulated Knowledge
4x Deep Analysis
4x Words of War
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
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.
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
+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
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
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.
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
+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
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.
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?
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…
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (38):
4 Accumulate Knowledge
3 Cunning Wish
4 Deep Analysis
4 Fire / Ice
3 Isochron Scepter
4 Tangle Wire
4 Words of War
4 Cephalid Coliseum
4 Rishadan Port
4 Shivan Reef
1 Echoing Truth
3 Energy Flux
1 Fact or Fiction
3 Magma Jet
1 Mana Leak
1 Urza’s Rage
Hope that helps out, Nameless Contributor, and good luck!
I’ll see y’all next week.