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Space for Rent!

Paul Hagan's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Serra Avatar Deck

6.17.05

Hey all, and welcome back to the Deck Garage. I’m not quite comfortable giving too much advise on what to do in tournament-level decks that include Saviors cards, so don’t be offended if you don’t see those until around the 20th, when Saviors goes legal and I can get a decent idea of what y’all are up against.

Browsing through the opportunities in my inbox this week, I came across a deck that featured the Ultimate Casual Player Card. That’s right, this week we’ll be working on a deck that revolves around Serra Avatar. Here’s the e-mail I received…

------

HI, my name is Kris and i built a casual deck around Serra Avatar and Angelic Chorus and it didnt go quite as i hoped. For starters i wasnt able to fit any of those awesome creatures that this deck could run. It just doesnt have too much power and playing with Elvish Pipers i have any creature at my disposal. Well basically i use the elvish pipers to play serras avatar doubling my life with angelic chorus and bringing it back to my hand with erratic portal.
I also put in the cho-manna revolutionary + pariah combo to fend off attacks while i get everything started. I also put in test of endurance, altar of dementia as alternate win conditions.

Well i was hoping you could help me beef this deck up alittle and wittle it to 60 cards without distoring the theme of the deck which is to gain a crap load of life and have a really big creature out w/o relying too heavily on it to win.

Tweak it up as much as ud like, the added cards need to be a reasonable price, like savannahs and the such. Im wondering what changes could be instore

The deck list is as follows
Land: (19)
6 - Forest
5 - Plain
4 - Krosan Verge
4 - Elfhame palace

Creatures: (17)
2 - Cho-Manna, Revolutionary
2 - Serra Avatar
1 - Reya Dawnbringer
4 - Elvish Piper
4 - Birds of paradise
4 - Llanowar Elves

Artifacts: (8)
2 - Well of Lost Dreams
2 - Altar of Dementia
4 - Erratic Portal

Spells: (18)
2 - Lay of the Land
2 - Replenish
2 - Test of Endurance
4 - Angelic Chorus
4 - Pariah

Total Deck Size: 62 cards

Also if you could also assemble a sideboard for this deck id very much appreciate it

-------

OK, first things first, I want to do some cuts. I think I’m OK with the likes of Serra Avatar (obviously), Llanowar Elves, Birds of Paradise, Elvish Piper, and even the stray Reya Dawnbringer. I am not, however, digging Cho Manno. He has always seemed like a subpar card to me – you have to do too much to make him operate well.

-2 Cho Manno, Revolutionary

I also think that all of the artifacts can go. Kris should be wanting to use his resources to make / utilize threats, meaning Well of Lost Dreams might be a bit too mana-intensive for this deck. Erratic Portal seems a bit out of place, and I will be filling in its slot with a much better removal card shortly. Altar of Dementia is a cute card with a gigantor Serra Avatar, but I would think that unless a deck has been built around milling out an opponent, there is no need to play cards that mill.

-2 Altar of Dementia
-4 Erratic Portal
-2 Well of Lost Dreams

Moving further down the above list, I see a few more cards that can afford to be cut. Lay of the Land can probably go; Yavimaya Elder is infinitely better, and it provides a handy blocker while Kris is setting up for the Avatar.

-2 Lay of the Land
+4 Yavimaya Elder

I don’t think Replenish is really warranted in this deck, as Kris doesn’t have any really relevant enchantments. It helps being able to get back some, such as Angelic Chorus, but those aren’t vital to the deck.

-2 Replenish

Noting that Kris wanted to throw in a few more heavy hitters, I’m going to need to make a bit more room. Looking over the cards I am certain I am going to keep, I can’t help but think that Angelic Chorus is good enough to keep, but not good enough to have four copies of it in the deck. Let’s cut that down to three.

-1 Angelic Chorus

Finally, out goes Pariah. With no Cho-Manno, Revolutionary to make this card silly, it doesn’t really have a slot within Kris’ deck.

-4 Pariah

So what is going to enter the deck in place of all of the above abandoned cards? Well, if Kris wants to gain life, I think we can do *really* well with a heavy-hitting classic, Exalted Angel. Since she morphs for cheap and Kris has a way to play her earlier with Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise, four of these aren’t unreasonable.

+4 Exalted Angel

The next card added is King of All Removal, Swords to Plowshares. I think I might have sung the praises of this card in a recent article, as well as a Card of the Day at some point, and there is a good reason I am so big on it. Hands down, Swords to Plowshares is the best targeted removal spell printed. Play four.

+4 Swords to Plowshares

We have a few more slots remaining and I’m not quite sure what I want to do with them. I think the best strategy would be to continue on with our theme of life-gain and smashing stuff by including four copies of Armadillo Cloak. Not only will it provide Kris with the ability to change any of his creatures into a serious threat, he will at some point be able to slap one on Serra Avatar and double his life total every turn.

+4 Armadillo Cloak

OK, at this point, I have room for two more big creatures to play with once Elvish Piper goes active. I think it would probably be best if I keep these creatures either green or white, as Elvish Pipers tend to have a short life expectancy in my area, meaning that it can’t hurt to have the ability to get them into play without any tricks.

The first I’m going to throw in is Verdant Force. Once a powerhouse for Reanimator decks, Verdant Force not only provides Kris with a large creature, but it also generates a cheap attacker or chump-blocker during *every player’s upkeep*.

+1 Verdant Force

The other creature I want to throw in is Akroma, Angel of Wrath. Although not as large or as threatening as Verdant Force, Reya Dawnbringer, or Serra Avatar, the speed she brings to the table, as well as her protection from black or red removal, is something that can’t be ignored.

+1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Turning our attention to the sideboard, the first thing that jumped to mind was to add four copies of Naturalize – you can never be too safe with artifact/enchantment removal.

+4 Naturalize [SB]

After adding in Naturalize, I immediately turn my attention to hate for the other colors. River Boa, Light of Day, and Silver Knight all immediately jump to mind. As I don’t know what cards are being played within Kris’ metagame, I can only go with broad strategies at the sideboard.

+3 Light of Day [SB]
+3 River Boa [SB]
+3 Silver Knight [SB]

This leaves me with two slots, to which I think I will dedicate Ghostly Prison. I can definitely see a weenie strategy working well against Kris, and although Ghostly Prison won’t be a final solution to that problem, it could stall long enough for him to get rolling.

+2 Ghostly Prison [SB]

Here’s what the final deck looks like…G 27, W29

LANDS (22):
4 Brushland
4 Elfhame Palace
6 Forests
4 Krosan Verge
4 Plains

CREATURES (25):
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Elvish Piper
4 Exalted Angel
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Reya Dawnbringer
2 Serra Avatar
1 Verdant Force
4 Yavimaya Elder

NON-CREATURE SPELLS (13):
3 Angelic Chorus
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Test of Endurance

SIDEBOARD (15):
4 Naturalize
3 Light of Day
3 River Boa
3 Silver Knight
2 Ghostly Prison

That does it for me; I’ll see y’all next week.

-Paul Hagan





 

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